Hiding in beach debris at high tide
We are often walking the northern area of Cable Beach and it is always interesting watching how the birds react on a very high tide. There are not many places to hide and often the shorebirds huddle against any remaining rocks. The White-faced Herons and Eastern Reef Egrets that feed on the reef at low tide sometimes roost on the remaining sandy cliffs. On one occasion we encountered one of each species trying hard to camouflage themselves against a washed up piece of driftwood and they moved gradually around the wood as we approached. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph all three species side by side! The header photo shows the White-faced Heron perching on the debris and a grey morph Eastern Reef Egret on the sand below.
The grey morph of the Eastern Reef Egret remained on the sand with the white morph of the Eastern Reef Egret and the White-faced Heron remained perched in the debris. As is so typical of Australian bird names, the heron with a white face is a White-faced Heron.
White-faced Heron and both morphs of Eastern Reef Egret
White-faced Heron and the grey morph of Eastern Reef Egret
It is not every day that you encounter all three species in such close proximity to each other to show their similarities and differences!
The beach debris is also used by the Pied Oystercatchers when they nest. Many of the pairs that we observe choose to nest among this debris and appear to use it as a surround to their nests.