Kelp Gull

Port of Brisbane – 3 January 2019

The sighting of three birds I hadn’t seen at the Port of Brisbane the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Asian Dowitcher and Long-toed Stint along with the Kelp Gull at Wellington Point prompted me to have a look on the way back from a trip to the Sunshine Coast.

The Port of Brisbane was the first port of call with not a lot to be seen initially other than a few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and on the island in the middle Pied Cormorant and Australian Pelican.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Port of Brisbane, QLD

I scanned the areas described on various facebook posts but no Buff-breasted Sandpiper to be seen. A little more looking around and I found a couple of Red-necked Avocet, always an interesting bird to see.
Also present were Black-fronted Dotterel, and Chestnut Teal.

Red-necked Avocet
Red-necked Avocet – Port of Brisbane, QLD

Reports were saying to look for the Asian Dowitcher among the Bar-tailed Godwit but with none of the larger waders around it was no where to be seen. An Eastern Curlew who flew in for a moment was the only larger wader.

Eastern Curlew
Eastern Curlew – Port of Brisbane, QLD

A wander on the road beside a channel revealed a couple of Brown Quail, and an Australasian Pipit but I was more focused on finding one of my targets so didn’t try for any decent shots.

The channel had a couple of different waders with Curlew Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint.

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper – Port of Brisbane, QLD
Red-necked Stint
Red-necked Stint – Port of Brisbane, QLD

Some birds when you look at them on their own make you think why have they developed the plumage colouring they have, it doesn’t always appear that it would be that effective but when you get to see them in the right environment it becomes obvious. This Pacific Golden Plover showed just how well it could blend in with the dry grass.

Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover – Port of Brisbane, QLD

An Australian Pied Oystercatcher gave me a quick look before moving on. As did a Striated Heron who was not keen for a photo and took off straight away.

Australian Pied Oystercatcher
Australian Pied Oystercatcher – Port of Brisbane, QLD

The Red-capped Plover is one of my favorite little waders so it was good to see a couple of them around.

Red-capped Plover
Red-capped Plover – Port of Brisbane, QLD

Some nice sightings but none of my target species left me a little disappointed. Returning to the first hide a couple of other birders were present and I tagged along with them for a final chance to see the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. After a bit of searching at the second hide we were finally able to locate it. A long way in the distance but close enough to identify.

It is crazy to think that this little bird normally migrates from North America to South America but somehow got a bit lost and ended up in the Port of Brisbane. That’s a fair diversion over a lot of water to survive.

After watching for a while it eventually came a bit closer but I still struggled for any decent shots. Just enough for the photo tick (Aussie Bird #306, World Bird #451).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Buff-breasted Sandpiper – Port of Brisbane, QLD

With light starting to fade I headed straight to Wellington Point for the Kelp Gull. I had seen them before in New Zealand but it would be a new Aussie tick. The facebook posts said that it would be sitting on the boat ramp and that is exactly were it was. A very easy tick, that is until I bent down to get a low angle shot and a bunch of kids ran straight at it and scared it off. Damn, the easiest tick and no photos.

Luckily a lady arrived and threw some chips for the seagulls (Silver Gull) and it returned for a feed so I got some good shots that I was after. Aussie bird number 307.

Kelp Gull
Kelp Gull – Wellington Point, Brisbane
Kelp Gull
Kelp Gull – Wellington Point, Brisbane

A couple of new ticks for a couple of hours of birding is not bad. I do prefer to discover them on my own but occasionally a twitch using others directions is ok.

  • World Bird Count:  451
  • Australian Bird Count: 307

Birds Photographed:


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