Photo of the week – March 6 – Vagrant Beach Stone-curlew at Douglas Point CP, SA

Beach Stone-curlew at Point Douglas, SA (Photo: J. Tuck)

The South East SA region had an unexpected visitor last weekend when a vagrant Beach Stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) was spotted in the Conservation Park down at Douglas Point. They’re usually found on the north coast of Australia from near Onslow in Western Australia to the Manning River in New South Wales, so it was well off course. Indeed this was the first record of the species in South Australia – with only five records in Victoria!

Thanks to a tip-off from the original spotter Pat Ward via BirdLife South East’s communication hub (aka Bob Green), we managed to get a few shots of it on Monday evening as it preened and then made its way down to the shoreline to find some crabs for dinner. As you can see in the photos – the similarities to the Bush Stone-curlew are clear. It’s a big wader that shares the thick knees and tall stature of its relative, but with a much stronger-looking bill and some fantastic camouflage to help it to blend in amongst the rocks and seaweed.

It was a privilege to see it and a reminder that you never know what you’re going to see out there – nature throws you some surprises sometimes. We wish it a safe journey home if and when it decides to go!

You can see previous photos of the week here.