After a night of teeming rain and strong winds, seven hardy souls braved strong winds and ominous clouds for the November bird walk.
However we had a really memorable day visiting six of Penne Kwiat’s favourite locations, on and around the Barwon estuary. Our first stop at Hospital Swamp was a bit light-on for birds, but Blue Rocks on the coast had some really good sightings, including a flock of Red-necked Stints, a Ruddy Turnstone, and five adult Hooded Plovers.
We were pleased to see the ‘Hoodies’ but concerned that they weren’t nesting as they should be at this time of year.
The highlight of morning tea beside the Barwon River was a number of Royal Spoonbills in breeding plumage.
The Barwon Estuary had hundreds of waders actively feeding on the sandbanks before the tide came in. They were mainly Red-necked Stints plus a few Curlew Sandpipers, but two Eastern Curlews stood out with their amazingly long, down-curved beaks, and there were a number of Bar-tailed Godwits with long turned-up beaks.
During lunch at Freshwater Lake on the Ocean Grove side, we had much animated discussion over three birds we thought/hoped were unusual, but eventually we decided they were Common Greenshanks.
At the last moment a large flock of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers landed nearby.
Finally, a new place for most of us was Begola Wetland Reserve hidden away in Ocean Grove suburbia.
After much looking, some of us glimpsed the prize, which was a Lathams Snipe. We had spent all day on our expedition and were very pleased with the 72 species observed.
Photos by Penne Kwiat, Conrad White, Ellinor Campbell, Joanne Heatlie.
Below are all the birds identified: