The tide was in so the waterbirds were on the basalt boulders and the last strip of beach. Black swans (Cygnus atratus) were having an after lunch nap, oblivious to the silver gulls (Larus novaehollandiae) on the rocks around them. One of the birds wore a ring. I don't know anything about banding so I'm not sure whether this individual has done a runner or is part of a research program. Can you real bird-watchers tell me something about the ring?
A pied cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) was preening itself on a boulder close to shore. I mentioned in an earlier post the all five cormorant species occur along the south coast (although not all of them are found in Port Phillip Bay). Three of them have black and white plumage but are easy to tell apart:
- pied cormorant has a yellow face and black garters
- little pied cormorant (P. melanoleucus) has a white face and no garters
- black-faced cormorant (P. fuscescens) has a black face and garters
A handful of crested terns (Sternus bergii) mixed in with the gulls. And some grey teal (Anas gracilis) perched on rocks a bit further out. I was a bit surprised to see a masked lapwing (Vanellus miles) skulking around on the mud. They're more often spotted on grassed areas—especially roadside verges and suburban parks.
Not a bad haul, I thought, for a small patch of mud and rocks in an urban area.