Victoria brought us mixed blessings.
We had an unsuccessful trip to the north of the state for Inland Dotterel, Plains Wanderer and Australian Painted Snipe, we saw none of them. There is a commercial company that can take you to look for Plains Wanderer but sadly for us the guide Phil Maher was not available (Australian Ornithological Services) so we had to let that option go. This was a real shame, not just because we didn't get to see the bird, but also as the company and the landowner have done so much to protect this species, it would have been very interesting to see and hear about their work first hand. So we had to try for it ourselves and the result was inevitable. The Inland Dotterel was a better bet, but despite spending the best part of a night looking for them they were not to be found. We also searched many places suitable for Australian Painted Snipe, but we could not find one.
|Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus a common sight on most Australian shores.|
The weather wasn't brilliant, it was very windy and every time I exercised my duty as chief gate opener and closer, is seemed to rain too. There were many other waders on these lagoons including, Sharpe-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints were the most common, but we also saw Curlew Sandpiper and Red Knot.
|Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea.|
|Red-necked Stints Calidris ruficollis. These birds were struggling to advance due to the softness of the mud and had to use their wings to lift them from the goo at every step.|
|Red Knot Calidris canutus: juvenile.|
|Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata.|
We also visited a field with a number of Banded Lapwings in it. Why they should choose to all congregate in this particular field I don't know, but at least we got some better views and photos of this species that we managed at Perth Airport!
The day ended with a trip to the park where Ruth works, Serendipity Sanctuary, where we enjoyed a good look around and saw some interesting birds including Cape Barren Goose.
The next day Paul took us to look for Latham's Snipe. Now our history with snipe has not been great in terms of getting stunning photos of late, and this bird proved just as difficult. We checked out loads of suitable habitat, some of these spots the water was too high, at others there seemed to be too many dog walkers and the like. However, I had noticed on a poster in a hide early in the day that the local golf course was a likely spot to look for them. We were much amused by the less than effective shots of some of the golfers and were absolutely thrilled to flush a Latham's Snipe from one of the water hazards. Incredibly Elis managed to get a record shot of the bird as it flew.
|Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii.|
|Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis. Our first Hoodie, KM.|
|Elis and Paul on commando manoeuvres. Elis's trail looks like that left by a nesting turtle!|
|Elis and Paul in prone position to take photos of the Hoodies which you may be able to just about make out between them.|
|Sooty Oystercatcher Himaetopus fuliginosus of the nominate race.|
|RuthWoodrow and Paul Dood, our genial hosts.|