Friday, November 15, 2013

The Observation Point beach walk

Every few weeks or so I found myself trudging along the sand heading east from Cowes to Observation Point. The aim is to walk either side of the high tide when waders and other shorebirds are brought closer together.

I remember several still, sunny late afternoons, walking along with the sun at my back looking forward to seeing what birds are roosting or feeding at the end of the spit. Today's post features the walk as I saw it last Sunday morning 10th November.

We start with one of the many bush tracks through to the beach from the streets of East Cowes or Silverleaves. From the eastern end of the residential area it is still 2.5km of beach walking to the Point.
Surrounded by the calls of Grey fantail, Rufous whistler and Grey shrike-thrush
A little way along the beach, the first bird I catch up with is my "Hoodie Hero" Thinornis rubricollis.
This couple were among several groups of Red-capped plover seen 
I caught up with them again on the way back - with the sun out! Red-capped plover Charadrius ruficapillus
iPhoto geotags - the blog post is tracking from left to right!  This next photo of the beach is taken at the "2nd-from-left" stickpin & looking back west (from where I have come)!
Every few months the shoreline changes. I love the tidal lagoons we have at the moment - they make for great toddler pools! This is a good two hours after high tide (note the high tide level is marked by seaweed and also the tracks from the Nature Park staff quad bike - out to check their feral cat traps)
Observation Point and this section of beach are designated part of the Phillip Island Nature Reserve. As one approaches the spit there is signage indicating its importance as a refuge for migratory waders. It is important to not disturb the birds and good views can be obtained with binoculars and long lenses without a single bird taking flight. Well before the spit care must be taken during the beach walk as local shorebirds may be nesting above the tide line.

Pied oystercatcher - now we are at the end of the spit looking in towards the Rhyll Inlet
Caspian tern (and Pacific gull)
Pacific gull
iPhone shot of the end of the spit (the black dots are the group of godwits shown below)

Incoming! Red-necked stint join the Bar-tailed godwits
"OK fellas, I think we got this lot all rounded up!" Red-necked stints appear to be herding Bar-tailed godwits, Observation Point, Phillip Island
Bird on!


  1. Nice walk - thanks Pete.
    Enjoyed the birds. That HPlover is well ringed, (rung?).
    Also loved the lanscapes.

  2. HI Pete Lovely place and great birds seen. Love the way the small birds are surrounded by the Godwits. They are so cute.

  3. Beautiful photos - looks like a fantastic walk. I love the baby pacific gulls - I haven't ever seen a picture of these before! Great photos of the birds and the landscape.