Thursday, March 11, 2010

Long Bay - Pacific Gull

I could start this blog post exactly like the previous, where I rattled on about how a short 10 minuets drive down along the coast can give you more new ticks than 4 days of hard(?) birding far far away from Sydney. Less than a week after our La Perouse trip, we decided to give Long Bay a go - Long Bay being even closer to home than La Perouse, surely there would be no ticking action going on, but I have come to like the walking in the area down there and there was a breeze from south east - the right direction, but to be honest nowhere near strong enough for a real pelagic excursion.

Soon after we had parked the Magna and started walking the very large gull in the first picture past us flying along the rocky shore and it looked like it was looking for somewhere to land! The Australian selection of gulls is very limited (if you do not count the six or so rare vagrants) there are only three in the club: The Silver, Kelp and Pacific Gulls. Silver is hard to avoid, Kelp is around if you look for it, but Pacific is hard to find around Sydney - it is much more common down south, but we had not seen it at Ben Boyd and here we were back home in Sydney with an enormous gull very much looking like a juvenile Pacific Gull cruising around in our backyard!

The gull had landed down on a hard-to-get-to rock platform, but the need for a confirmation picture gave us wings .. or rather enhanced crawling capabilities :-) As soon as we got a closer look, there was absolutely no doubt that we had indeed bagged the Pacific Gull, not bad for a Wednesday afternoon.

After a bit of celebration(?) we continued our walk out towards the usual sea bird lookouts at the cliff top. As expected the weather was not rough enough to push the passing shearwaters in towards the coast and into range of the Bigma - if you wait long enough you will always get a few reasonable pictures, but nothing compare to the amount of close vicinity action that happens on a good stormy winter day along the coast .. a few months and there will hopefully again be a bit of albatross action on the blog.

Great afternoon trip to Long Bay, very exciting once again seeing a new bird! I had already planned another Victoria trip where I would be (nearly) certain to see the Pacific Gull, but there is something special about being surprised and seeing birds where you did not expect to see them.
We had been out a few days earlier trying to get pictures of the Sooty Shearwater slightly further down along the coast. In these economically unstable times I have decided to save the price of an entirely new blog post by including a few pictures from that trip here in the end of the Long Bay endeavor. These are handheld, but of fair quality - considering the distance. This winter I should probably give my monopod one more chance - I seriously did not like using it last winter, but I guess it is a question of giving it a fair go and if it can give me a stop or two it could dramatically reduce noise in these sea bird pictures where I usually have to crop quite hard to get something usable.


Aleisha and Simon Iremonger said...

Your list must be getting pretty long now, sorry I forgot that you are not counting ;-)

AGL said...

ha,ha - yeah, no doubt that if I was counting I would not bother spending time driving around for birds - they seem to emerge from nowhere here in Sydney :-)