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Posts Tagged ‘Seagull’

After a day of activity in Iluka, whether it be walking on the beaches or in the bush, playing golf or bowls, swimming, reading or just lazing about, a great way to end the day is to stroll along the path beside the bay to watch the sunset.  I did just that one day after a late afternoon visit to the mouth of the river and a walk on the ocean beach.

P1240762  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240762 © JT of jtdytravels

Where the Clarence River is channeled out to sea by two long breakwaters,

dolphins can often be seen.

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P1240759  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240759 © JT of jtdytravels

By the time the sun had begun to sink low in the sky,

the main beach at Iluka was almost deserted.

Summer visitors had not yet arrived.

It had been a warm winter’s day but now the breeze was a little chilly.

  It was time to go back to my room at Iluka Motel.

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P1240992  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240992 © JT of jtdytravels

I made one last stop for the day at Iluka Bay.

There, I found birds also ‘coming home’ from their day out.

A small flock of corollas flew in to hunt for a last minute feed of seeds.

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P1240994  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240994 © JT of jtdytravels

A couple of Ibis also flew in.  This one showed off its lacy tail.

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P1250015  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250015 © JT of jtdytravels

It soon began to search the waters for a late afternoon feed.

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P1240779  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240779 © JT of jtdytravels

A small boat caused rippling waves behind this grey heron.

The waters had begun to take on a tinge of the colours of the setting sun.

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P1250026  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1250026 © JT of jtdytravels

A couple of ducks shovelled for food in the mud.

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P1250008  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250008 © JT of jtdytravels

The pelicans swooped in for a final feed along with a small group of seagulls.

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P1240964  ©   JT  of jtdytravels

P1240964 © JT of jtdytravels

As the sun sank even lower, this pelican seemed to pose for his portrait.

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P1240952  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240952 © JT of jtdytravels

The late afternoon light also added extra charm to a common seagull.

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P1240959  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240959 © JT of jtdytravels

Even the boardwalk took on a golden glow.

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P1240766   ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240766 © JT of jtdytravels

On a quiet part of the bay, the water had retreated leaving puddles in the mud,

providing the opportunity for this heron portrait.

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P1250012  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250012 © JT of jtdytravels

More pelicans arrived as

a ribbon of golden sunlight made its way across the bay.

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P1250021  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250021 © JT of jtdytravels

By this time, the other evening walkers had left the path.

I was left alone to enjoy this quiet evening scene.

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P1250022  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1250022 © JT of jtdytravels

The sky burnt a firey red as the sun slipped away

giving a final kiss of light to wispy clouds.

This is indeed a special place.

I’ve promised myself to return one day.

Jennie

Photography  ©  copyright JT  of  jtdytravels

(Accommodation was at Iluka Motel… I can recommend it)

Stories and photos of our overseas travels can be found on

www.jtdytravels.com

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Racecourse Beach, Ulladulla, NSW      ©  JT  of <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

If you take a walk along Racecourse Beach at Ulladulla at any time of the year, chances are that you will meet only a handful of other people.  And the odds are even better that those people will walk right on by and not even notice a tiny bird that makes its home on the beach and in these sand dunes.  It’s hard to see – it’s tiny and it’s so well camouflaged.

Look in the centre of this beach shot – see the bird?      ©   DY   of <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

It’s not until this petite bird moves with its scurrying ways that you realise that it’s there at all.  It runs quickly along the sand before pausing suddenly.  As you approach, it flies off  for a just short distance and then begins to hunt for food again.

Three species of little plovers live in this area – but which of the three is this one?

Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)      ©   DY   of  <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

A closer look shows the reddish cap, clean white brow and breast and the sandy coloured back of the Australian native Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus).  This bird was on the beach on its own but they are often seen in pairs or small groups. Red-capped Plovers frequent dunes, beaches, river banks and the margins of inland lakes.

Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

We watched in fascination as this tiny bird, only 15cm high, ran towards the incoming wavelets to catch the tiny insects off the surface or crustaceans turned over by the waves.

Rock shelf at Racecourse Beach, Ulladulla, NSW      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

At the northern end of Racecourse Beach is a large rock shelf where we found the other two species of small plover – again both well camouflaged and very hard to see at first.

Well camouflaged Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

This small native Australian plover (20cm), sometimes called a dotterel, is fairly rare on the NSW south coast.  It is more commonly found in Tasmania, along the coastal areas of Southern Australia and the south west of WA.  It frequents ocean beaches, sand dunes, estuarine mud flats, exposed reefs as well as inland salt lakes in Western Australia.

Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

It’s a shy bird and easily disturbed so we had to move very slowly towards it.

Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

 But patience was well rewarded with a good look at this well marked small bird. It’s entirely black-hooded, including the throat and shoulders, broken only by a very smart looking white nape band. The back is light-grey brown with a touch of black on the tail. The red bill is tipped with black. The red eye ring is rather lost in the black face.

Double-banded Plover      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

While watching the Hooded Plover, another bird flew in , so tiny it was almost invisible.

Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

It was not at all shy, came close and posed very nicely to have its portrait taken. This was the Double-banded Plover, a trans-Tasman migrant. It breeds in New Zealand in  summer  and visits Australia during the winter months.  It was probably a fairly new arrival.

Double-banded plover (Charadrius bicinctus)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

In New Zealand during the breeding period in summer, this bird sports a clearly defined black collar and deep reddish buff breast band.  But when it’s in Australia during winter, these markings are muted, appearing as the softer buff coloured breast bands seen here.

Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

This is definitely not a shy bird. It seemed to be just as interested in us as we were in it!  While in Australia, it frequents seashores and mudflats of eastern and southern coasts.

Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

Sharing the rock shelf with the plovers was a Sooty Oystercatcher.  Not as common as the Pied Oystercatcher, this shy bird inhabits undisturbed ocean shores, preferring rocky ledges and reefs.  It feeds on crustaceans, sea worms and molluscs using its strong, stout bill to break open shells and to prise limpets from rocks. There was plenty of food here!

Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus)      ©   DY   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

Not even a rising tide with its crashing incoming waves deterred this bird from its search for food. It’s a very solidly built bird with entirely black plumage and that makes it very difficult to photograph unless it can be shown against the white of the waves.

Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus)      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

But again patience was rewarded, and as the bird approached us, I was able to get that conspicuous red  bill… and the red eye that is usually somewhat lost in the black face.

Seagull      ©  JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

The only other bird on the rock ledge that morning was the smartly dressed but very common sea-side bird, the seagull.

Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis)      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

And close by was yet another of those much rarer birds, a petite Hooded Plover.

Racecourse Beach rock shelf, Ulladulla, NSW      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

 Once again the tide was on the turn – it was time to go and leave the birds in peace.

Photography   ©  DY and JT   of  ‘jtdytravels’

More of our travel, gardens and nature photos are on:

 flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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