Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Wandering Tattler on the Sunshine Coast

Today at Alexandra Headland on the Sunshine Coast I had six Wandering Tattlers on the rocks at low tide, all in breeding plumage. This species is quite rare in Australia, and to see six together is exceptional.
It's all the more unusual to see Wandering Tattlers in breeding plumage in this country. These birds appeared to be gathering prior to departing for their nesting grounds in the northern hemisphere. They were unusually restless and active, flying about and calling constantly. Birds were seen chasing each other on several occasions. My friend Brett Lane points out that these birds appear to be particularly fat - perhaps twice their normal weight - clearly in preparation for their long flight north.

The Sunshine Coast has proved to be one of the best sites for this species in Australia. The birds occur in small numbers at several rocky headlands along the coast in summer.
A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers was also on the rocks today at Alexandra Headland.
Along with this grey phase Reef Heron. Wandering Tattler, Sooty Oystercatcher and Reef Heron are all primarily birds of rocky headlands in southeast Queensland. All three today were surprisingly tolerant of the people who strolled about the rock pools at low tide.
At Pt Cartwright nearby, this pair of Osprey performed nicely overhead. Offshore, the first Australasian Gannets of the season were seen, and Common Terns were in good numbers.


  1. Congratulations on capturing these Greg. Coming from Victoria I've never seen these tattlers but they do look quite distinctive. Maybe one day...

  2. Thanks Peter. They are quite distinctive. Breeding plumage aside, they always look a good deal darker than Grey-tailed, and a little more heavy-set. The calls and habitat are different also.