Monday, 3 July 2017

Darter at the Snowy River Estuary

Sunday morning (2/07/17) dawned very cold with the temperature minus 5 degrees in Bairnsdale at 6am and still minus 3.3 at 8am. At home, some distance from Bairnsdale, where it is usually colder, it was still zero on the car’s temperature gauge at 9.30am.

Please click on photos to enlarge.

Frost on top of the vehicle in the sun at 9am.

As a sunny day was forecast we decided to head somewhere warm, well relatively warm, and as the warmest places were likely to be on the coast we decided to drive to The Slips at Corringle on the Snowy River Estuary opposite Marlo and walk from the camping and picnic area at the end of the road to the Snowy River entrance to look for water and shorebirds.

A section of the Snowy River Estuary opposite Marlo.

Walking east along the narrow shoreline towards the entrance we came across a female Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) drying out its feathers in the winter sun after a fishing session. As there was no easy way to skirt around the Darter we were forced to disturb it as we made our way along the shore. As we approached the bird flew, however it returned to a perch on a dead flood-deposited tree a little further along so we had to disturb it a second time. Here are some photos from the encounter.

The Darter drying wing feathers.

At this point it looked like the Darter was taking off.
The Darter did not fly.
At this stage I was not sure what the Darter was doing?
It looked like the Darter was drying its feathers again?
It then turned its back to the sun.
A moment later it was off in earnest.
The Darter headed out over the estuary.
But then it circled back and landed on a tree branch a little further along the shore.
However it did not stay there long and this time it was off for good.

After a short interaction with the Darter we continued along the estuary to the Snowy River entrance. On the walk we recorded Hooded, Red-capped and Double Banded Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers, Red-necked Stints, Great Egrets, White-faced Herons, White Ibis, Chestnut Teal, Hoary-headed Grebes, Australian Pelicans, Caspian and Crested Terns, Sliver and Pacific Gulls, Little Pied, Little Black and Pied Cormorants.

A perfect winter’s day for birding.

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