It's over a month since I visited the landfill site, and, after all the torrential rain we've been having, I was anticipating finding a lake. However, the pump has obviously been hard at work, and the site was drier than I've seen it yet - a perfect 'scrape' of pools and fresh mud for the waders to feast in.
This also made it harder for me to predict where the main roost would form, there were just too many options for the waders to choose from. Added to this, the presence of a male Peregrine, 2 Brahminy Kites and a White-bellied Sea Eagle was making the waders highly mobile and jumpy today, and I hardly got close to any.
Too close for comfort! This Peregrine made several passes at the waders, but I didn't see it catch any.
As soon as I got out of the car I could see there were more stints than usual - here are a Long-toed (left) and a Red-necked (right) in classic field guide position! I started to get the feeling that today would be a good one to find a Spoon-billed Sandpiper, but then, any day would be!
Check out the toes on this one! A first winter Long-toed Stint (note the pale-fringed wing coverts).
The first nice surprise was not one but two Ruff, an unusual bird here. These are both males; the one on the left is a juvenile, while the right hand bird is an adult. Rather distant I'm afraid.
Then while scanning the Pacific Golden Plovers, I came across two Pectoral Sandpipers - again, an adult and a juvenile! The adult had completed its body moult into non-breeding plumage, but was still in wing moult. I couldn't say for sure whether this was the same bird as the one I saw on Sept 12th.
Here the adult bird is below. The juvenile is a brighter bird overall, with a clearer whitish supercilium and two pale lines on the mantle and upper scapulars.
Seen here with a Long-toed Stint (top left) for size comparison.
I managed to catch one shot of the juvenile in flight. At least you can see it doesn't have sharp tail feathers!
Here's a very poor quality video of both birds. As you can tell, I'm very new to videoscoping! Any advice gratefully received!
In early afternoon the rain closed in again, so I retired to the car and took a brief look over Site B, where there were a couple of hundred Whiskered Terns hawking around. So no Spoonie, but a good day for all that!
All seats taken!