Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Watching for Shorebirds' Return, Phillip Island

We have had a cold and pretty wet winter in southern Victoria and it certainly doesn't feel like Spring yet. However I did manage to enjoy a beach walk to see Phillip Island's Rhyll Inlet at the weekend. This was in the late afternoon light during an hour or two of sunny and still conditions. I made my way to Observation Point and made these .... well .... observations!

In the breeding season, a pair of Pied oystercatchers generally hang around east of Silverleaves. I tried hard to get some  background in this shot. It shows French Island on the other side of a very calm Westernport Bay. The hills behind Grantville form the distant horizon.
Clicking for the enlarged view reveals Pied oystercatcher Red Flag 5E
Two endangered Hooded plover have paired off once again at the eastern end of Silverleaves beach. Meet current local "Orange Flag PW above Silver band"
Among the fascinations for me is the anticipation of what shorebirds will be present at the sandy spit that is Observation Point. Here are a few Curlew sandpiper among the Red-necked stint. In the foreground is an out of focus Red-capped plover 
Red-necked stint
A Double-banded plover in full bleeding plumage always stands out in the crowd! "Shouldn't you be in New Zealand?"
I am always on the lookout for Godwits, Whimbrel and Eastern curlew. Three Eastern curlew arrived while I was watching but I saw no Godwits which I found unusual. There was more than the usual number of ducks and I had some difficulty sorting the species as they kept their distance. I was impressed with the number of Australian shoveler, a species I generally don't see a lot of.

Eastern curlew, the hills between San Remo and Anderson in the background.

Several Australasian shoveler amongst the Grey and Chestnut teal. It might be worth a click for the enlarged view as the male shovelers have an amazing colour scheme. 
Great cormorant are generally outnumbered by Pied cormorant at Observation Point
This Australian pelican flew low across the surface of the water for at least 100m! I love watching that. It seems to be heading towards San Remo where the pelicans get fed each morning
My happy shadow - Observation Point at high tide (iPhone panorama). Westernport Bay to the left, Rhyll Inlet to the right
The return trek - I'm about to get wet and painfully cold feet!!
All worth it!
Bird on!


  1. Great set of shots. Looked at your other recent posts as well - how often do you get to Blackburn Lake - as that is a semi-regular walking / kids bike ride area for me. Maybe we could do a joint post!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  2. so many fine species and gorgeous nature. Love what I see in your blog :)