Sunday, January 31, 2010
St. Kilda saltfields
When I got back from Gluepot, I had enough time for a short visit to the St. Kilda Saltfields. It wasn't the best time of day, low tide and in the heat of the day, but I still hoped to see a few waders (Shorebirds). I was surprised to find I was first in, and once again disturbed the cormorant roost. these are mainly Little Black Cormorants. As I made my way along the main track, I started seeing all of the usual waders. There were plenty of visiting Common Greenshanks and also a few resident White-headed Stilts There is one spot that is a favourite of Terek Sandpiper, and true to form, one was there accompanied by the only Banded Stilt I saw. This pair amused me, and I just had to get a photo of them. The size differential is amazing. This is Masked Lapwing and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. On one of the main evaporation ponds there was a real commotion as Royal spoonbills and Little egrets fought over a very localised food source. A little further on, there is a freshwater stream that bisects the saltfields. From the bridge I saw a feeding group of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints. These two species are by far the most numerous summer visitors here. Whether it was the heat, or the fact that they were resting, some of the birds were very confiding. So using the car as a hide I managed to get close to three species that are normally pretty timid, so I'll finish with a few studies of them starting with Red-capped Plover, one of our common resident waders. Next is the Red-necked Stint. And finally Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.