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At the Beach with Australian Fairy Terns

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 20 January 2024 | Views [90]

Australian Fairy Tern on the nest, Lake Tyers Beach

Australian Fairy Tern on the nest, Lake Tyers Beach

IT WAS BLOWING A GALE when we arrived at MacLeod Morass Wildlife Reserve yesterday. The wind on the water and the scutting clouds made for some good photos but poor birding. When the wind threatened to blow us off the boardwalk we decided it was time to call it a day.

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              Boardwalk at MacLeod Morass Wildlife Reserve

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          A good day for landscape photos, not so good for birds

We had much better luck today at Lake Tyers Beach where threatened Australian Fairy Terns had been reported recently. We followed a “To the Beach” sign down a steep stairway and over a dune to Lake Tyers Beach. We had trudged about a kilometer up the beach when John noticed a sign for a Fairy Tern nesting area. With a closer look we could see a tiny Fairy Tern on her “nest,” a slight depression in the sand, while two others landed nearby. 

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                    She has a good Strategy for Survival

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                           Australian Fairy Tern on her "nest"

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                          Fingers crossed!

As we continued up the beach we counted 40 Silver Gulls, 82 Great Crested Terns and 13  Australian Pelicans before turning back. When another beach walker frightened the Fairy Tern off her nest, unintentionally and probably unaware that it existed, we were able to see a clutch of three eggs. “God willin’ and if the tide don’t rise,” soon there may be a few more Fairy Terns in Australia.

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                        On the march, Lake Tyres Beach

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                       Be on the lookout for Superb Lyrebird (photo from eBird)

John stopped to pet a pair of greyhounds, getting his canine fix for the day. Their owners, noticing our birding paraphernalia, said a lyrebird had just crossed the trail. Lyrebirds weren’t even on our radar—but you can be sure we will be looking for them now! 

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                             When the road got rough we walked

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                   Spotted Pardalote, finally

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                       Spotted Pardalote

Three caravans were parked at the Burnt Bridge picnic area where we hoped to find the elusive Spotted Pardalote. We have photos of its Striated cousin, but have only heard the spotted. Only semi-daunted we continued on until the washboard road threatened to loosen our fillings. We tracked the now-familiar call and were rewarded with a pair of Spotted Pardalotes and some photos, too.

 

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