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Jan 21: Inching along, 200 up

Today was a day when I felt like I was going more backwards than forwards. It started well enough. I did my dawn mudwalk at Lota Foreshore and completely enjoyed every second of it. Of the 9 target species I mentioned yesterday, I got 2 – probably about what I expected: Terek Sandpiper and Greater Sand Plover. I had about 28 Tereks – absolutely cracking birds and one of my favourite shorebirds. It was really good to spend time watching shorebirds hard, in particular trying carefully to critically separate Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers. I got some really good scope views of a several birds, and took the time to appreciate the difference in bill shape between the two species in a way I hadn’t fully done before. Greater is generally much rarer than Lesser in Moreton Bay, with roughly 90% of Sand Plovers being Lesser. I feel good that this species was the 200th for my Big Brisbane Year List. I am sorting through photos and will upload them to the checklist soon. The mud was knee-deep and fairly difficult going in several places – beware and take care if you are heading out, and leave plenty of time to reach dry land again before the tide catches up with you.

I checked a few other roosts along the Wynnum foreshore after I’d finished, but couldn’t turn up anything else new for the year. Not even a White-bellied Sea-eagle, which is fast turning into a bogey bird!

Mat Gilfedder texted late morning to say a Long-toed Stint had been seen at Kedron Brook Wetlands, along with a Pectoral and Common Sandpipers. Stint Schmint – I needed the other two! And was particularly keen to connect with Common Sandpiper, which is a very scarce migrant to Brisbane, with fewer birds turning up than Pectoral. Michael Daley kindly described where he had seen the Common Sandpiper that day, suggesting to look on the creek itself at low tide. That settled it, I would go at dawn. Mat later texted to say he’d seen the Long-toed Stint, which was excellent news. He and are having a friendly competition this year – making use of the newly-available Local Government Authority functionality in eBird. Don’t know what I’m on about? Try typing Brisbane here.

Late evening Rob Morris posted to the South East Queensland Birders Facebook group that he had seen two Australian Spotted Crakes on the wetland at the stint spot. This is a mega find – extremely rare in Brisbane, in fact only the third eBird record for the species, which was first seen in 1984 by Tony Palliser and then again in 2013 at Kedron by Roger Jaensch along with a Black Falcon – now there’s a good day out! Forget the shorebirds – I will be on site at dawn and searching for crakes. The only problem is I have to be home at 0630…

With the two shorebird year ticks at Lota Foreshore (Terek Sandpiper and Greater Sand Plover), my year list at the end of the day was 200 species. I spent 4 hours 3 minutes birding, walked 4.312 km and drove 42.4 km.