Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Yellow-billed Spoonbills at Bowra Sanctuary

We camped at Bowra Sanctuary near Cunnamulla for three days. Conditions were the driest we have seen (we have visited Bowra four times now over a period of 12 years or so). The bore-fed shallow water lagoon at the homestead was a magnet for birds as usual. By contrast, birds were very scarce and hard to find across most of the property while we were there though bird-call each evening produced daily tallies of between 50 and 60 species seen by about half a dozen observers.

Two Yellow-billed Spoonbills spent the first day perched in a dead tree above the lagoon. One bird departed on the second day leaving just one. The Spoonbills spent the day mostly sleeping, making me think they must be feeding at night. Both were in breeding plumage though it is doubtful any breeding would be taking place given the extremely dry conditions!

Please click on photos to enlarge.

One of two Yellow-billed Spoonbills roosting.
They mostly slept during the day.
Late afternoon light – the Spoonbills became restless ahead of departing – presumably to feed for the night?

Late on the third day the remaining Spoonbill came down to feed in the lagoon. I could not see what it was capturing however the food items seemed plentiful as it threw back its head every few sweeps of the bill to swallow the catch.

I tried to capture a photo of the food item as the head was thrown back however the action was far too fast for me.

A brief pause from feeding and a quick preen of a tail feather before returning to the water.

Five pm and the sun is not far off setting – the end-of-day filtered light is moving to the red-end of the spectrum.

My last photo before the light failed.

More Bowra birds will be featured in some future posts.

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