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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Image ID 45300)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Wed 10th Mar, 2021 and uploaded on Thu 11th Mar, 2021 .
Resolution1800x1092
Viewed73
ID45300
CommentTime to say goodbye (again). The migratory birds that annually fly some 13,000 km from the Siberian Arctic to spend summer at the Werribee Treatment Plant are beginning to think about their flight back. They stay with us from around August-September to the end of our summer, departing around April and May. Sharp-Tailed Sandpipers, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Red-Necked Stints, and Grey Plovers are some of the ones regularly seen at Werribee who make this epic journey, stopping to refuel at “pit-stops” along the way, especially in the Yellow and Bohai Seas between China and the Korean Peninsula. They do this because the Siberian summer is where they breed, hatching generation after generation, as they have done for hundreds of thousand of years. But now, with all the threats from extreme storms, plastic and chemical pollution, progressive destruction of their wetland habitats, and humans who hunt them down along the way, these epic heroic journeys, described so movingly in Andrew Darby’s recent book, “Flight Lines” (2020), may well come to an end. Here is a Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper, wading in shallows in the T-Section Lagoon, no doubt building up its body fat and reserves for the gruelling flight ahead. Courageous indeed, and perhaps a kind of inspiration in how migratory birds prepared to undertake such long and dangerous journeys for the purpose of hatching a new generation seem more prepared to undertake such sacrifices for their avian offspring than a current older human generation currently refusing to make any economic sacrifices to address global warming and ensure the future habitability of the planet for future generations. The image of a Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper’s is still in non-breeding plumage, with streaking faint along the midline of body and no prominent rusty cap and coarse black chevrons on the on breast and flanks. Bill slightly decurved as with this bird (although in some the bill can be straight). So, au revoir, Sharpie, have a safe flight, and hope against hope we see you again in Werribee next summer.
EquipmentNikonZ7ii Nikon 300mm f4 PF TC1.4 420mm ISO 1250 1/6400th f5.6
LocationWerribee Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria
Keywordsadult, non-breeding plumage/features
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