Context: Limestone platform extending 400 meters out from the coastal cliffs forming part of the Aldinga Reef Sanctuary Zone. Walk to the edge of the platform during low tide. Snorkel off the edge. Keep an eye out for Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints.
On the last City Nature Challenge day we took the opportunity to stop in at Aldinga Reef around low tide. With the limestone platform exposed, I’d hoped to add a few Birds to the species list.
We found a few seashells we hadn’t found during the CNC, including a Banded Ark (Barbatia pistachia), Southern Ribbed Top Snail (Austrocochlea constricta) and a Conical Moon Snail (Conuber conicum). I also added my first record of a Half-grained Bonnet (Semicassis semigranosa) and Tenagodus australis.
Port Jackson Sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) are quite common along Adelaide’s coastline. They tuck their eggs into rock crevices, some of which get loose and wash up on the shore. You’re almost guaranteed to find a few any time you walk along this section of Aldinga Beach.
This was the only stop during the CNC where we’d possibly spot Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints. We dipped on both. We did however spot a Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus) which wasn’t expected.
While the tide is out and the limestone platform exposed, many of the shorebirds rest far from the sandy shore. I’ll often extend the camera to full zoom and take some panning shots to review when I return home. Occasionally I’ll spot a Bird in the mix I would have otherwise missed. In this instance, the technique worked. Off to the side of one of the photos was an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) feeding. This was my first record of this species and it was completely unexpected. Endangered in SA, these are considered absent on the Fleurieu Peninsula, although this is likely referring to breeding pairs. It’s a shame I didn’t spot it while we were on site. I might have been able to get some more reasonable photos, without disturbing it of course.