Headed to Soldiers Point on the outgoing tide to see if the Double-banded Plovers had coloured up prior to leaving for New Zealand, and if any of the Northern Hemisphere waders had arrived in their breeding plumage.
We were lucky on both counts with around twenty plovers showing their coloured bands, Pacific Golden Plovers in bright gold plumage and Grey-tailed Tattlers wearing their breeding chevrons.
There was also a Sooty Oystercatcher, a White-faced Heron, two Bar-tailed Godwit, and a group of Red-Necked Stints.
The Double-banded Plover breeds only in New Zealand, where it is widespread. In the non-breeding season, part of the population remains in New Zealand, while the remainder migrates to Australia. It is the only species of land bird that migrates from Australia to New Zealand and is unique among waders in that much of the population undertakes an east-west migration.
It is not unusual to find them on exposed reefs and rock platforms with shallow rock pools such as on Soldiers Point. Little is known about the foraging of this species although some general observations of diets of young and adult birds have been made on a population of Double-banded Plovers that are known to forage at night alongside Sydney Airport runways.
Interestingly, the biggest threat to Double-banded Plovers wintering in Australia is the cessation of grazing and the return of grazing land to woodland.