Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Birding Killarney Beach

Dull but dry! Looking west from Killarney Beach towards the Port Fairy lighthouse. Low tide exposes the weed covered rocks which protect the beach from the surf.

Aahh, not enough time! Precious few moments to take in some serious birding, even less time for blogging. However I so enjoyed some birding moments at the weekend, I feel inspired to pen a post or two.

Labour Day long weekend in Victoria generally finds me at the Port Fairy Folk Festival. This year was no exception and I tore myself away from the music for a few hours to Killarney Beach, a reasonably reliable spot for Sanderling and other shorebirds, so I have read.

Being a long weekend I was sharing the beach with horse-riders, dog walkers, fisherman (a few of each) and a lone swimmer (yikes - it's the Southern Ocean for goodness sake!).

I was keen for Sanderling and I spent some time (read "45 minutes") watching a group of waders trying to convince myself that they weren't Red-necked stint and failed - they were. The low-tide had revealed seaweed-covered rocky reefs and patches of exposed seagrass. This underwater garden was laid bare for the camouflaged shorebirds to feast upon.

Several Red-necked stint and two Ruddy turnstone (look hard!)
The stints in particular loved the patches of sea-grass. There was also a pair of Pied oystercatcher and a young Kelp gull hanging around.

Oystercatcher, stint and turnstone
Kelp gull
These seagrass patches and reefs are just 50 metres to the west of the car park. Heading further west along the beach towards Port Fairy we come in to some serious Hooded plover territory. I saw six birds including a chick.

Distant view of an adult Hooded plover sending its chick to the safety of dune shrubs - away from the approaching photographer
Meet Hooded plover (Orange flag YY), proud parent doing its thing distracting me away from the chick "Come hither!"
Volcanic rock forms the reefs protecting the little bay from the Southern Ocean surf. White-fronted chat forage

Black swan and gulls including this Kelp gull were among the fly-bys.

Looking east, low tide Killarney Beach. You can see two small "islands" of sea grass
Now if you want Sanderling try heading East from the carpark! More to follow ...

Bird on!