Shore birds at the mouth of Ross River

ross river mouth
Wet-season sky over the mouth of Ross River

Business in South Townsville ten days ago was enough excuse for a brief visit to the mouth of Ross River. I parked near the end of Boundary Street and walked along the beach to towards the new bridge for this dramatic cloudscape. (We’ve seen lots of promising clouds lately, but still very little rain.) Construction of that bridge and its associated Port Access Road, by the way, is what was blamed for driving the flying foxes and ibis away from the mangroves in the distance to the Palmetum and Dan Gleason Gardens.

There are always shore birds to be seen here. Terns were fishing in the river (Common Terns, I think, though they are notoriously hard to separate from similar species), and a small flock of waders flew downriver past me to land on the sand flats. There’s no point trying to be unobtrusive on the sand flats, so I just walk towards them, taking my photos, until they decide I’m too close and take off …

ross river mouth birds
Small wading birds on a sand spit
ross river mouth birds
A close-up shows there are two species together

On this occasion I got close enough to see that there were at least two species. Small waders are as notoriously difficult to tell apart as the terns but I think the smaller birds are sandpipers and the larger one is a greenshank.

ross river mouth birds
Away they go!

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