Tipping Points (1)

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Tipping Points (1)
From: Russ <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:39:00 +1100
I wonder if the rather sudden end to the hot spell in Victoria was the
tipping point for many of the waders preparing to depart.
Over the weekend we had the first decent rain in many weeks, and a fairly
sudden drop in overnight temperatures, from mid 20s down to low teens.
Today when I had a late afternoon visit to the Western Treatment Plant
there seemed to be a lot fewer of some wader species. Red-necked Stints
seemed to be about the same, but Sharpies and Curlew Sandpiper were harder
to find - only a few of each, no Marsh Sandpipers, Godwits or Red Knot, and
only 1 Greenshank.

I was really only looking in one spot (off Beach Road) so of course my
observations could be influenced by tides and a myriad of other factors. A
week ago there were lots of Curlew Sands getting their rich summer colours,
while today I could only find a couple. The Stints are starting to show
colour as well - it seems quite a change in a week, and perhaps I'm looking
at different birds. I'd be interested to hear if others are finding the
same changes.

No sign of any of the 'specials' from recent weeks: Wood, Common,
Broad-billed Sandpipers, but they probably wouldn't fit anyway because of
the huge numbers of Red-kneed Dotterel. A couple of Australia Spotted
Crakes as well - I can't think of a wetland around the Geelong region where
I haven't seen crakes this summer.

Russell Woodford

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