Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stockton Sand Spit


Red-capped Plover - immature

Having done a good deal of work since walking the dogs at dawn, I rewarded myself with a trip out to the Stockton Sand Spit, arriving around ninety minutes after high tide. There were good numbers of birds in the lagoon and salt marsh, and on the beach. There were two men collecting weed from the closest part of the lagoon, so  the birds were further out.  I crept out through the mangroves on the north side of the causeway, and got good views of the two pied oystercatcher runners, both quite grown up, one a little more independent of the parents than the other.

Three kinds of egret and a spoonbill were fishing in the shallows of the river. A large group of stilt hung around just off shore and a big group of godwit edged the beach. Curlews waited in the salt marsh.

I found a spot where I could sit on a log behind a grass tuft without putting up even the masked lapwing.  I didn’t have to wait long until a group of red-capped plover ambled up beside me to forage. The curlew were coming closer. And the godwit were near enough for me to identify at least one black-tailed among the bar-tailed. Terns and gulls were diving for fish.

Then they all took off. One of the weed gatherers was marching straight through the middle of the roost.


I waited half an hour but only the white-faced herons returned. However a peregrine falcon flew over, momentarily low enough for an ID shot.

Bird list.

  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Red-capped Plover
  • Masked Lapwing
  • White-faced Heron
  • Little Egret
  • Eastern Great Egret
  • Intermediate Egret
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Far Eastern Curlew
  • Whimbrel
  • Pied Oystercatcher
  • White-necked Stilt
  • Australian White Ibis
  • Silver Gull
  • Crested Tern
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • Common Tern
  • Little Black Cormorant
  • Pied Cormorant
  • Superb Fairywren
  • Little Wattlebird
  • Rock Dove


  1. Marj, you have just described my biggest hate. The darn (I won't swear) fishermen that tromp all over the Sandspit as if it's a public street. The idiots have no respect or even any knowledge of the disruption and damage they cause on the site. I would be happy if they fenced the place off and access was restricted to those who went there for the birds, and not the bait. I have had many wonderful moments (and photo ops) ruined because of the sods.

  2. Cute Plover Marj. It's interesting that a Ramsar site like Stockton isn't more carefully signposted against walking over the roosting area. At the moment the signs are ambigous to say the least.

  3. There are four signs with pictures and a good deal of writing explaining the birds and the site, but they may be counter-productive as most fishermen are not going to take the time to read them, or register the significance.

    People may well ignore a big "Do not disturb the birds" sign but at least they would have seen it.