A lone Double-banded Plover, found along a stretch of the 40k Stockton Sands. First Hunter tick of 2017
We’re over in Australia at the moment, visiting our son and his family, holidaying with my brother and hunting down those Hunter ticks! This must be our fifth trip to Newcastle since Dan, Morgan and the kids have lived here and, in addition to boosting my all-time Australia list – which now stands at over 500, I’ve been slowly amassing my Hunter Bird Observers Club list, in the hope that I might meet their ‘entry level’ Bronze standard of 300 species. At the end of our last visit I was frustrating close, on 291.
Grey Plover – another ‘Hunter tick’
We arrived here from Sydney airport yesterday mid-morning and, with barely a half-hour turn-around, we were back out the door, bound for Stockton Sands, in pursuit of our first Hunter tick of the trip. A small group of Double-banded Plover winter along this 40k stretch of beach – said to be part of the largest dune system in the southern hemisphere. Most of these birds have now left the Hunter, bound for New Zealand where they breed, but my brother did photograph one about ten days ago, when he and Gi were visiting. we’d driven more than half the length of the beach before we finally came across a lone individual – phew! Waders were few and far between, but we did see Red-capped Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover (another Hunter tick) Curlew Sandpiper, Pied Oystercatcher, Great Knot and Sanderling. On our way home we stopped-off to collect Freckled Duck – usually a difficult species to track-down anywhere in NSW, as my third addition for the trip. 294 – we’re on target to reach the magic 300 before we leave (fingers crossed!).
Other wader interest coming in the shape of Great Knot and Sanderling
and Gull-billed Tern