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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Australian Pelican, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Australian Pelican, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Image ID 45430)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Tue 16th Mar, 2021 and uploaded on Sun 21st Mar, 2021 .
Resolution1400x490
Viewed145
ID45430
CommentA panorama of Australian Pelicans contemplating a vista of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. The Pelicans are some of our largest and most familiar Australian nomads; the summer visitor Sandpipers, for their part, are extraordinary travellers from the other side of the globe, where they breed in the Siberian Arctic. The Sharpies are about to depart this month or next month, so perhaps our Aussie nomads are looking forward to having the Little River outflow to themselves over the autumn and winter rather than having to share these mudflats with myriads of diminutive chittering and peeping sandpipers enveloping and engulfing them over the summer. Not that they are competing for the same menu items on the shoreline smorgasbord. The Sandpipers are after small aquatic worms, insects, molluscs and crustaceans; the Pelicans have bigger fish to fry, or rather to gulp down raw, scooping them up to stow in their capacious pouches. The image provides a stark contrast between the huge Pelicans and the petite Sandpipers, yet it is the fragile-looking Sandpipers who are the more resilient long-haul travellers, dedicated to making the annual 13,000km journey to their breeding grounds. Our own human species might currently have its international flight wings clipped due to Covid-19 restrictions but these Sharp-tailed Sandpipers are going ahead with their international travel plans. As, indeed, they have been doing for hundreds of thousand of years. Unfortunately, this may not be for too much longer. Without action on climate change, global sea rises will swamp the mudflats on which migratory waders depend. At the same time, without efforts to stop pollution and hunting, there will also be a progressive decline in Sandpiper numbers to the point of extinction. The fate of the Yellow-breasted Bunting is the shape of things to come. Buntings share some of the same Asian flyways as the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers but, due to hunting and other problems, the estimated 100 million Bunting population was reduced by 95% by 2013 (Andrew Darby, “Flight Lines”, pp 201-203).
EquipmentNikonZ7ii Nikon 300mm f4 PF TC1.4 420mm ISO 1000 1/2000th f11 Monopod
LocationWestern Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria
Keywordsadult
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