I spend a lot of time outside and especially on secluded beaches. I am often alone and surrounded by shorebirds either roosting or feeding and I travel either by bicycle or on foot. My prints are often the only human prints on the beach and I see them increase as the tides decrease during the monthly cycle and wash away on the big tides. Every day I see other creatures leaving their prints and they also come and go with the tides. I walked back along a red sand beach this week and left distinct prints on the wet sand and they were gone by the next tide…..
Footprints on the sand
I came across a set of Australian Pelican prints and realised my feet are not that big!
Australian Pelican prints
I recently watched a small flock of Great Knot walking along the tide edge as they watched the tide fall and then flew out onto the reef to feed. You can almost imagine what I saw from the picture as each print was a bird walking side by side along the sand.
Great Knot prints
A flock of Greater Sand Plovers had all been crowded together at high tide and as it dropped they moved forward leaving their prints and a loose feather in the sand.
Greater Sand Plover prints
In the silty sand I discovered snail prints mixing with the actively feeding Red-necked Stint prints. They were moving at considerably different speeds!
Red-necked Stint and snail prints
During the breeding season in Broome I see the prints of Pied Oystercatchers leading to their nests. It takes a windy day to remove all the prints that they leave on every changeover of sitting duties.
Pied Oystercatcher prints
On one occasion I saw a Red-capped Plover chick that was only about 3 days old suddenly disappear from sight as its parents called out for it to hide. It found a human print was the only place to go, but it camouflaged it well!
Red-capped Plover chick in footprint
I have seen Sanderling run along the beach and due to their speed only leave one print next to a starfish!
Sanderling print next to starfish
Even an octopus will leave a print if it suddenly loses the sea from around itself and needs to move.
Octopus and its print
There’s an old saying…
Take only pictures and leave only footprints
I still have the pictures, but the prints are gone!