Saturday, August 11, 2012


It has been a few months since my last post. I have still managed to get out birding at least once every 3 weeks but a recent computer virus deleted the bulk of my archive of photographs taken between May and August, including some nice photos of a pair of Whimbrel in company with 8 Eastern Curlew at Thompson Beach. Dang! These things happen - if anyone out there has a sure-fire way to retrieve these 'lost' files, please drop me a line. It took a good day or two to get over the disappointment of losing 400+ pictures.

Well, onto brighter news. Late Winter has proven to be quiet around the northern shores of Adelaide. I journeyed out to Thompson Beach on high tide this morning to scout for any recent arrivals from north of the Equator. I was treated to a small number of post-breeding, recently-landed Curlew Sandpiper feeding frenetically on the claypans just north of town. Their small posse was flanked by 200+ Red-necked Stint, a big jump in numbers since my last visit three weeks ago. In the same area a group of 16 Double-banded Plover were keeping a low profile among the dead Samphire cover in the middle of the shallow water.
With so few waders about I turned my attention to some of the birds I usually scurry past on my way to look for other things deemed more 'exotic'. It was nice to slow the pace of travel for a morning, instead of marching about madly like an ape trying to shift a large suppository, I took the time to sit and observe, note and photograph.

It was a nice change to casually observe the behaviour of a few of the more common birds found on shore, such as the Great Egret, Crested Tern, Silver Gull and Pied Oystercatcher. In my new-found 'zen' state I was treated to a few special moments of what I call 'birding serendipity'.

Whilst scanning a large group of Crested and Caspian Tern I was lucky to find a group of 3 Fairy Tern almost obscured by rocks and larger birds. Patience and quiet observation pays off. Seeing these delicate and graceful little birds makes any day out a great day out - considering their current conservation status is currently listed as 'vulnerable' according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). I hope that I may continue to stumble upon this species at this site for many more years to come.

The constant calling of a juvenile Crested Tern caught my attention and I was treated to a prolonged display of Avian paternal patience of the highest order. For close to 10 minutes I watched a young Crested Tern subject its parent to the Avian equivalent of 'pester power'. I shuddered with horror as I was momentarily transported back to similar feed time shenanigans around the dinner table with my very own squawking fledglings.

"Gimme, gimme, gimme...."

"I know you heard GIMME!"

"Hey! Wait!...errr Mum, where are you going?"


The final 'treat' of the day, and inspiration for the title of this here entry, came as I headed back toward the car at midday. A pair of Pied Oystercatchers gave me some sustained close views and a little more than I bargained for...

Not everyday you see that.

Until next time...

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