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, 15 March 2018

Pectoral Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper & other shorebirds Toorbul-Godwin Beach

Pectoral Sandpiper
A Pectoral Sandpiper was present today at Bishops Marsh near Toorbul. The bird was hanging around with about 12 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, one of which had pretty well-defined breast markings. The Pec however wasn't difficult to find. Full marks to Stewart Melton for spotting this bird yesterday.

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Not too many shorebirds were present at the Toorbul high tide roost nearby but the mix of species below was nice. I've noticed this season that the birds at the roost have been extremely skittish and often they are absent when the tide is particularly high, as it was today. Local birders tell me that numbers using the roost have been affected adversely by cannon-netting by bird banders. People and their dogs are a constant problem. Birders are not blameless, often approaching the birds too closely. I was there recently when contractors for the Moreton Bay Regional Council, which is supposed to safeguard the site, ignored my pleas and mowed the grassy bank just as 3000 shorebirds had settled in; the birds immediately left and had not returned an hour later.

Gull-billed Tern, White-headed Stilt, Great Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit
Other shorebirds about Toorbul, Bishops Marsh and a wetland along Freeman Road recently include Red-kneed Dotterel, good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Sandpiper. Brolga has been regular at Bishops Marsh.


Red-kneed Dotterel

Black-tailed Godwit

Marsh Sandpiper
Good numbers of Eastern Curlew were roosting amid mangroves at high tide some distance from the Toorbul roost.

Eastern Curlew
 Just six kilometres away from Toorbul in a straight line is Godwin Beach. This is a good spot during short windows of time before and after high tide. Last week I found three Broad-billed Sandpipers here on an incoming tide.

Broad-billed Sandpiper
Great Knots are common and this one was banded at Toorbul in 2012, so it has presumably undergone annual migrations amounting to many tens of thousands of kilometres. It would make the regular short journey to feed at Godwin Beach from its high tide roost. This could be Toorbul or on Bribie Island at Kakadu or Red Beach; the birds seem to move between the three main roosting sites quite a bit.

Great Knot
Godwin Beach is a good spot for Terek Sandpiper.

Terek Sandpiper
Bribie Island is close by and what follows is a selection of shorebirds seen over the past couple of weeks at Red Beach, Pacific Harbour and the Kakadu roost.

Greater Sand-Plover 

Bar-tailed Godwit

Lesser Sand-Plover

Pacific Golden Plover

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