Shore-birds at the mouth of Ross River

cloudscape
Sand flats, mangroves, clouds and lots of fresh air at the mouth of Ross River

Thursday was a day of dramatic clouds so I made a spur-of-the-moment detour on my way home from the city, visiting the mouth of Ross River for the open space and big skies of the sand-flats. I found I had company – lots of shore-birds were out and about, most of them probing into the sand and mud for small prey.

Large brownish wader with long straight beak
Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica

The two largest were both about the same size, i.e. a bit under ibis size, and colour. Both had long beaks but one was straight and the other down-curved like that of an ibis. They turned out to be a Godwit, above, and (I think) a Whimbrel – here is a better photo than I managed to take.

Three smaller species were more numerous but harder to identify. None were as big as the abundant silver gulls sharing the area.

mottled grey wader
A Sandpiper?
small grey wading bird
Wandering Tattler, Tringa incana
two small waders in shallow water
Stints or Sandpipers?

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not feeling too guilty about my inability to identify all of these birds because they are all from one extensive family (Scolopacidae) and all very similar in appearance, as a visit to this index page on Ian Montgomery’s Birdway shows. I would be rather embarrassed, however, if I didn’t know these impressive creatures:

Two pelicans swimming together
Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicillatus

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