Friday, October 9, 2009

Swan Estuary Marine Park - Birdwatching (1)

The Swan Estuary Marine Park encompasses Alfred Cove, Pelican Point and Milyu, together forming an area of more than 300 hectares. The mudflats, seagrass beds and intertidal vegetation in these areas provide a variety of habitats for numerous animals, especially migratory wading birds.



Of the three areas, Pelican Point is the nearest to the Crawley campus of the University of Western Australia and to where I live too. So naturally, I have visited Pelican Point a number of times.


Next to the sign of the Pelican Point Conservation Area, there are two palm trees. The larger one, with lots of dead leaves on the stem, seem to be a hang-out (or maybe nesting place?) for rainbow lorikeets. I have seen several rainbow lorikeets calling from the top of the tree on all my visits to Pelican Point.



Signs were erected at Pelican Point to inform visitors how they can avoid disturbing the birds.


When I visited the spot in late September/early October, I saw pelicans, cormorants, black swan, silver gulls (these are everywhere anyway) among other bird species.


Little pied cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos)(red arrow); Pied cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)(blue arrow)
*Pied cormorant have yellow facial marking and black thighs (see here), two characteristics that distinguish them from little pied cormorants. Little pied cormorants are smaller (60 cm) and have shorter bills compared with pied cormorants (75 cm).

Little black cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)(black arrow); Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)(white arrow)
*Little black cormorants have no yellow facial markings and are smaller (60 cm) than pied cormorants (85 cm).


Crested terns (Sterna bergii) - adult (top); juvenile (bottom)


Caspian terns (Sterna caspia) - adult (top); juvenile (bottom)



Australian white ibises (Threskiornis molucca)


Yellow-billed spoonbill (Platalea flavipes) - I have seen this beautiful bird only once, when I went for a walk late in the afternoon.


Pied oystercatchers (Haematopus longirostris)


Black-winged stilts (Himantopus himantopus)


Australian shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides)
I have also seen pacific black ducks and musk ducks there.


Red-capped plovers (Charadrius ruficapillus) - male (left); female (right).
Thanks to Denis Wilson and Bushanwater, members of the Birds in Backyards Forum who identified this bird for me.

References:
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/
Guide to the Wildlife of the Perth Region

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