Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beach Stone-curlews

Over the last couple of months I've had the pleasure of photographing the southern-most breeding pair of Beach Stone-curlews and their chick. These birds have taken up residence in the Port Stephens area of NSW.

Beach Stone-curlew with a Soldier Crab

During my last visit in June the adults and adolescent were still present. The young bird is almost as big as the adults and appears capable of feeding itself, though I observed one of the adult birds dropping crabs at its feet. 

Soldier Crab Greeting

Given the large number of Soldier crabs these birds consume I was a little concerned that it would not be too long before they exhausted the supply and had to move on. Fortunately I was put at ease when on my last visit I was able to observe thousands of Soldier crabs emerge from their holes.

Given that these birds have taken up residence in close proximity to a populated area, they are relatively easy to approach. Normally an approach to within twenty metres is reasonably easy. There have however been occasions when the birds are feeding that they can be approached to within 10 metres. 

Brahminy Kite

When the birds feel threatened they tend to fly across to the nearby island. Apart from the occasional dog the birds get most nervous when one of the resident birds of prey fly over. In particular the White-bellied Sea Eagles cause a bit of panic.
Hopefully these birds will remain in the area and breed again next season.