A Grey (Plover) day in Albany

It was anything but a grey day when DBG visited Albany on 17 March, 15 intrepid birders enjoyed a bright sunny day visiting Boronia Reserve, Lake Seppings and Rushy Point.

Boronia Reserve is on the shore of Oyster Harbour and is accessed from behind the Oyster Farm plant and storage facility. Evading a Tiger Snake sunning itself, the group made their way down onto the beach, where a group of eight Grey Plovers were feeding at the mouth of a small stream which enters Oyster Harbour, accompanied by a couple of Pied Oystercatchers and two Red-capped Plovers . A raptor was seen on the opposite bank some distance away and after several incarnations a Whistling Kite was eventually settled on. It was soon joined by a juvenile Swamp Harrier which appeared to catch something on the back beach, retreating behind the fringing bush to enjoy its early “morning tea”.

The car park at Lake Seppings held the attention of the group for quite some time with a male Red-winged Fairy-wren posing in the morning sun, good views were had of a Western Whistler and a Red-capped Parrot was seen feeding on a Woolly Bush. After extricating ourselves from the car park the group split in two. There were plenty of ducks to be seen, notably four or five small rafts of Australasian Shovelers, probably numbering about 150 birds. These were put into a mild panic with the arrival of an immature Sea Eagle which circled menacingly over the lake for some time. Other ducks included Pink-eared, Blue-billed, Musk, Grey Teal and Black Duck.

We carried-on to Rushy Point, partaking in the all important morning tea ceremony, before making our way to the bird hide. The tide was in and this had concentrated the birds onto a small sand spit. There was some confusion generated by the author as to the species of shorebirds, which turned-out to be predominately Grey Plover (after photographic evidence was examined), about twenty, which is a large number for this species on the South Coast, these were accompanied by other shorebirds: about seven Bar-tailed Godwits; three Greenshanks and a Greater Sand-plover. Also occupying a crowded spit were Great, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants, Australasian Darter, Caspian and Crested Terns, a Black Swan, Pelicans and Silver Gulls. Unfortunately the tranquil scene was shattered by a low-flying helicopter which put the birds to flight, fortunately most returned, but several “mental” heat-seeking missiles were fired at the annoying flying machine!

The group dispersed having had a very pleasant day of “birding”. Thanks to Kirsty for her organisation and to our Albany Members “Alan and Donna” and “Bruce and Suzanne” for their assistance.

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