|A section of Victoria Lagoon at Hollands Landing. The water is shallow and most of it can be waded by Stilts and Avocets at this level.|
|The view as I approached a mixed flock of Banded Stilts and Red-necked Avocets on Victoria Lagoon. The structure in the middle of the photo is a duck shooting hide - the birds are strung out in a line in the water behind the hide.|
Following a dry year so far in 2017, Victoria Lagoon is drying out rapidly and in the process large areas of shallow water and wet muddy/sandy shoreline are being exposed. The lagoon is roughly 2km by 2km and varies over time from fresh to hypersaline. At present, there are good food resources available as evidenced by the presence of large numbers of ducks (teal est. 300+), Red-necked Stints (est.400), Red-capped Plovers (est.100) and the Stilt and Avocet numbers quoted above.
|This photo shows two small species of long dead beach washed molluscs – live ones no doubt form part of the diet of at least some of waterbirds on this lagoon.|
|One of several groups of Red-necked Avocets resting on Victoria Lagoon.|
|A closer view of mostly Avocets resting – if you look closely you will see some Banded Stilts.|
|Some of the Banded Stilts feeding – they tended to feed close together in a line.|
The following selection of photos were taken from two visits – unfortunately it was overcast on both occasions.
|Avocets making their way past me along the shoreline with out-of-focus Banded Stilts in the background.|
|Focus reversed with Banded Stilts in focus in the background.|
Not only is the Red-necked Avocet’s bill an amazing shape but it is incredibly thin and hardly seems capable of the hard work required to trawl for food without sustaining damage. In the following photo the middle bird with its head down has its bill slightly open – take a close look at just how thin the two bill segments are – and yet they use the bill partially open in a side to side sweeping motion to capture food!
|This Avocet has a dirty face from foraging. Apparently the female bill is more steeply upturned, otherwise the sexes are similar.|
|In this photo the following bird has a more steeply upturned bill and therefore is likely to be a female with a male in front.|
|Some of the birds had flushed, flown a lap and then returned to the bulk of the resting birds that had stayed put.|
|A section of a flock of Avocets that had flushed and then returned to the group. The small birds are Red-necked Stints. The black wing tips and shoulder bars against the brilliant white plumage make Avocets in flight a stunningly beautify sight.|
|Shorebirds often do wing and leg stretches when they are uncomfortable and getting ready to fly – a sign they are likely to flush.|
|Sure enough this group is taking off.|
|Banded Stilts in flight.|
|Another group of mostly Banded Stilts in flight.|
|A cropped section of another shot of the above group.|
I was surprised to find when editing the photos that one of the Banded Stilts had a red flag on its right leg.
Cropping some of the other photos revealed a fuzzy
but possibly good enough image to show the letters CKY.