One month ago we moved into our waterfront apartment.
Things that I’d never considered before have grabbed my attention. I have become fascinated with the tides, with the estuary birds that occupy our waterfront, with their habits and antics.
The internet has been invaluable as I’ve researched and learned about the birds. But I’m a book person, so I’ve bought one book on wildlife in Tasmania and have found the local library.
I used to feed the birds in our UK garden, so I’m familiar with the sparrows and starlings that we see in the bushes and trees here. There are some tiny finches and wag tails that I need to research.
I expected to see gallahs, rosellas and sulphur crested cockatoos, the common Australian birds.
The waterbirds have been an education. Little Pied Cormorants sit on the rocks below our window and balcony, each day. They face the wind, sometimes with their heads tucked under their wings. They are lively birds who jostle for positions on the rocks as the tide comes in. They swim around on the water, dive for fish and crustaceans.
After fishing they sit back on the rocks with their wings outstretched to dry as their feathers are not waterproof.
The Little Black Cormorant is more of a social bird. We see them in flocks, swimming and fishing. When one bird takes off, the rest follow, generally flying in V shaped formations. Marine cormorants are commonly known as “shags” here.
At low tide we see Sooty Oystercatches wading in the shallows, foraging in the rocks. As I watch them, I can hear the sound as they bang their quarry on a rock, to get to the meal inside. Along with the Pied Oystercatcher, they move to grass banks when the tide is up. Another foraging bird is the Masked Lapwing. These long legged birds have a specific walk, sedate and precise. Yesterday we saw an egret for the first time. The bird is white. I caught it in shadow as it flew from the beach.
Seagulls are calm and flock on the sand, or swim in the shallows. The Silver Gull is a smaller version of it’s UK cousin and can be just as rowdy or menacing. Kelp Gulls are bigger in size, have darker wings and venture out on the water to fish.
I’ve been told that seals, dolphins and occasionally whales come into the estuary. One way to spot them is by the antics of the birds, who flock over the creatures and the schools of fish that have generally enticed the mammals away from the open ocean. Hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to see these creatures one day.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to study the flora and fauna of my new home.
The above were my photos but here are some internet photos of the birds.
Little Pied Cormorant, Cape Paterson, Victoria
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
You must be logged in to post a comment.