I tried to hold out for next weekend to check out the Oriental Plover that turned up at Shoalhaven Heads, on the NSW South Coast. I planned initially to go down on Sunday, but waking up at 5.30 and checking the radar which showed torrential rain up and down the coast changed my mind. Then the forecasts for the rest of the week indicated that it was only going to get worse – I had about a 4 hour window from dawn today to try. And try I did. And the window shut at around the predicted time.
Anyway – I got the Oriental Plover – bird #527. Took about 2 hours of scanning through the large flock of PGP’s, and there were 5 very pale birds, including 1 that I reckon is a fair candidate for Grey Plover, but in atrocious light, sea haze and light fog, I saw the beast. Initially I scoped it from about 250 meters and was very satisfied that it was it, but I needed better views, so I went around the NE side of the roost to get closer, while not heading directly for the birds. Then I couldn’t relocate it (it was windy, and all the birds were roosting/hiding/sheltering). Over the next hour, I met a lovely couple and we were looking at them, the Little Terns, the Red-capped Plovers, and trying to work out what these lighter PGP’s were. I was fairly convinced that one, which steadfastly refused to move its head for the best part of the time I was there, was the Oriental Plover. After a while, the couple who turned up left, and I decided to head even further around to the east of the flock to get a bit closer (ninja commando style all the way), I put the scope on them again, and there it was – it was the very pale bird that had been sleeping/resting for the whole time all along.
So anyway – didn’t manage shots apart from distant shots of the whole flock, but I managed to see the bird, and get back to the car about 5 seconds after the rain started, and which has only slightly abated in the last half hour – before being predicted to pick up and be mental all night.
And isn’t that what birding is about? Getting out and about, cold, wet and tired, to see a bird that looks pretty similar to all the others?