Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mason Park, Sydney, Friday 20th October

In the afternoon, I took a short walk from Olympic Park to Mason Park. Mason Park was once slated as a dump-site, but has been preserved as a small wetland oasis which attracts Black-necked Stilts and Masked Lapwings to breed. Red-kneed Dotterels are regular there too, and in the northern winter, it is a haven for Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 'Sharpies' as they are known to local birders.

New South Wales is in the midst o a 10-year drought, so there was much less water there than on my previous visit 2 years ago. Drought notwithstanding, the skies clouded over and I narrowly escaped a drenching by sheltering under a bridge just as the heavens opened. By the time the rain stopped, the tide had risen considerably and the number of Sharpies on the marsh had increased correspondingly.

I sat quietly and gradually birds walked right up to me.

Here's an adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. The coverts are extremely worn and some tertials seem to be missing altogether so that the primaries are exposed. Sharpies have a rather pot-bellied shape.

By contrast juvenile Sharp-tails are really bright, smart birds, with beautiful rich colours. The scapulars are noticeably smaller than the adult's.

This colourful male Red-rumped Parrot was a nice bonus. They seem to pop up in various places but aren't really common anywhere.

No comments: