It's been a good one

It's my umpty-umpth birthday tomorrow, and in true Rower and Paladian fashion, the celebrations have started early. (The birthday isn't significant, and there's not a nought on the end).

A wonderful safari down to Goolwa, on the South Coast, today. And the migratory species are coming back. We took so many good images - the light was fantastic, and there was a LOT of action. They are letting water through the barrages, and the pelicans were lined up in droves ready for the fishy feast that was coming through.

This particular bird is a Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata), which isn't yet on the BlipBigYear list. YAAAAAAY. It's not particularly rare, but this little bird flies all the way from Siberia where it breeds. That is some feat for such a small bird.

Tomorrow we head down to the South Coast again, but this time to stay for a few nights. Should be fun.

Here's some info on the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper for those who wish for knowledge.

The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is a medium sized wader with a straight black bill that has an olive-grey base. It has a chestnut crown and nape, a white eyebrow, and reddish brown upperparts, with each feather having a black centre. The rump and tail are black, with white outer margins visible in flight. The wings have an indistinct white bar. The breast and flanks are white, streaked and speckled black, with a reddish brown tinge on the chest, grading into a white belly and undertail. The legs are olive. This species is commonly seen with other waders during its migration from northern breeding grounds.

It is a summer migrant from Arctic Siberia, being found on wetlands throughout Australia. It is also found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and New Zealand. It is a vagrant to India, Europe, western North America, Fiji and other parts of the central Pacific region.

It prefers the grassy edges of shallow inland freshwater wetlands. It is also found around mudflats, mangroves, rocky shores and beaches. Its breeding habitat in Siberia is the peat-hummock and lichen tundra of the high Arctic.

Strongly migratory, it arrives in Australia in August, returning to Siberia in March, with greatest numbers in south-eastern Australia.

The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper feeds on aquatic insects and their larvae, as well as worms, molluscs, crustaceans and sometimes, seeds. It is often found in large flocks, often with other waders, foraging in shallow waters.

It breeds in the short Siberian summer (June to August). Its nest is a well-hidden shallow hollow on the ground, lined with grass and leaves. The female incubates the eggs and raises the young alone.

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