Sunday, January 10, 2010

Botany Bay - Boat Harbour - All Alone :-)

I had some seriously busy months up towards Christmas - Do not misunderstand me, it was great busyness. Little G. moved back in, dad and TK visited and we managed to squeeze in some seriously super duper trips. Good stuff, but it there is an end to everything and suddenly I was once again all alone .. different, but not all bad :-)

Boat Harbour is not necessarily the place you bring people visiting from overseas, but if you are into a bit of wader action it is an excellent spot to go this time of year. The first picture is nearly a classic by now - I always take a "close up" of the city when standing at Quibray Bay viewing platform .. Centerpoint aka Sydney Tower is according to Google Earth 18km away from the platform :-)

Waders are fantastically camouflaged, looking at the pictures this might seem hard to believe, but trust me on this one, you can easily walk around on the rock seeing absolutely nothing, but cormorants, terns and seagulls - nothing else, that is until you sit down still and start focusing on the small pools of trapped water right at the edge of the rocks and suddenly there is life all over the place.

The bird above and also in the second picture had me fired up for a while, I was nearly sure that I had not seen it before. After a look in the books, however, I am afraid that it could be a non-breeding Pacific Golden Plover - the change their "outfit" quite dramatically when breeding. In combo with the camouflage story above it all give sense, they stay hidden most of the year, but have to break cover during breeding season to attract the opposite sex.

Walking back towards the car I saw a glimpse of something I have never seen around Sydney before; dolphins! I have seen them in Queensland and Western Australia, but never home here in Sydney. I ran up the sand dune only to be immensely disappointed instead of dolphins there was a group of about 5 surfers.

Standing there feeling a bit stupid having mistaken a surfer for a dolphin, the surfers (and yours truly to a minor extent) got themselves a bit of a surprise. A group of about 5 dolphins leapt out of the water few meters from the surfers and continued swimming close to the surface in between the people in the water.

All good, maybe no new birds but when the dolphins start jumping around it does not really matter so much :-) By the way, if any wader experts are reading along can you confirm if my mystery bird is indeed the PGP? If you really want to make my day, then tell me that it is the Eurasian Golden Plover ;-)


Iain said...

I'm no wader expert but this one is definitely a Pacific Golden Plover.

AGL said...

Yeah, that was what I was afraid of :-) Gemma's book (Michael Morcombe) had a good comparison between breeding and nonbr. and even stated that there could still be a bit of golden on the back while in nonbr.