Migrants to our shores

The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper can be found over most of Australia.

Every year thousands of migratory birds return to our shores around the start of spring and become residents till they head back to the Northern Hemisphere in March or April.

Being in their non-breeding plumage, many of these look very much alike making it very difficult to tell the difference between them.

One such family of these birds are known as Sandpipers, every one of which look white but with different though similar brown markings.

Altogether, eight different Sandpipers come here to Australia virtually circling the continent though not all covering it completely.

One of the group that inhabits areas of all the eastern states as well as the Northern Territory is the Marsh Sandpiper. I was able to photograph it on a dam just south of Mackay when I was visiting family in that area.

Many of these birds may travel inland either individually or as part of a group.

Another Sandpiper that I have been able to photograph on a few occasions is the Sharp-tailed variety (pictured). This has been along the beach front around the Bluff at Yeppoon and also when I was walking up the creek that flows down to the beach and into the water. Each time there has been only the single bird. The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is one that can be found over most of Australia.

Along with the Wood Sandpiper, the Common Sandpiper is another that spreads widely across the continent. Of all this family, this member is probably the one where the most birds leave the main flock and move around individually.