May 2 - 8, 2021: Issue 492


A Resident Shorebirds + Aquatic Birds Celebration: BirdLife Australia's Annual Photo Comp. Opens This Month

Every week great local photographers send in wonderful captures of our local shorebirds - with thousands of local birdwatchers visiting Long Reef's aquatic reserve the home to so many species, either permanent or seasonal migrating visitors, as well all those stretches of beaches, coves, creeks, lagoons and the estuary with its wildlife protection areas, even when an image is not being sent in, a short stroll in the place where we're all fortunate to live brings us into contact with the other residents - of the feathered kind.

A few years back Ken 'Sava' Lloyd was telling us about the fairy penguin colony that once lived on Turimetta beach, while our own research into local environment history not only affirms his memories but brings up articles that show these cute little waddlers once lived on the beach and in the dunes right the way along our coast and, according to local surfers and fishermen from Palm Beach down to Manly and our friends from the Central Coast, they are being seen again just off our shores in greater numbers - must be all the great work National Parks & Wildlife are doing for the Lion Island colony as well as the great team looking after the Manly community of these aquatic birds.

Sava will be pleased! 

Something for you Mr. Lloyd as thanks for all those bird photos you share - and from one of your old stomping grounds, found this week after the third message in about penguins off our coasts inspired an investigation:

When summer comes . . .

HE MUST go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky- but only for dinner. This hungry little chap couldn't wait for the rest of the flock that gathers for a nightly 3 a.m. party on the beach. Then they return to their nests to sleep all day.

HOUSING TROUBLES begin, at Mrs. E. Whittaker warns off a mother bird for squatting with its young beside her shed. But (inset) the penguin family sits tight till ready to vacate.

PENGUINS at the bottom of their garden

Spring comes with a difference to the gardens of waterfront homes in Ocean Street, Narrabeen, north of Sydney. It brings flocks of fairy penguins-the smallest of the breed-sauntering in from the sea to take up residence for their nesting season. As daytime guests they're welcome, but at nightfall they head down to the sea for food-making noises that keen everyone else awake, too. They stay for a few months.

HUNTING for invaders under the house, this family is helped by neighbors. Householders have M tried fencing and boarding around their houses, but still the penguins come to nest each year.

SIGNAL'S RIGHT, but the bus speeds on. For most people in Ocean Street, Narrabeen, the penguin novelty has worn off. They would rather have their sleep, which the birds' din disturbs. The noises vary from "woo-woo" to loud dog-like barks.

THE MAN who came to dinner takes it for granted he's welcome as Mr. W. Gillanty greets him. Residents, particularly light sleepers, now have to resign themselves to a trying time while the penguins, which are protected, are in charge.

PENGUINS at the bottom of their garden (1956, December 12). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 23. Retrieved from 

The penguins aren't the only birds you will find on our beaches and the tributaries that run into them - Narrabeen Lagoon is a paradise of darters, swans, egrets, herons - as are any sea bound rock platform or even a path beside a creek - have a look at this white-faced heron strolling casually alongside the Careel creek path behind Barrenjoey High School a few years back, 'escorting' or leading the photographer on:

And these babies came waddling afterwards, while a white egret, a straited heron and cormorant were actually in the creek - surround by waterbirds -  how do they know who it's safe to be around you have to wonder? Why do they never take to flight when they come across some humans on the trails?

In fact, everywhere you go you will see these wonderful waterbirds - here's a tern fishing at the southern end of Mona Vale Beach during the Golden (50th) Anniversary Jubilee celebrations of Mona Vale Hospital. Yes; went down there to photograph the water sports races associated with the events and dawdled for a half hour trying to get decent captures of this lovely fishing - now you know why almost every week the Issue is late....:

The great news for all our local birdwatchers and bird photographers is we've received notice from BirdLife Australia this week that their annual Bird Photography competition opens in a few weeks, so, start sorting your images or get out and get some more! There's nothing lovelier than finding a nice quiet spot to settle down and watch the funny antics of these beautiful creatures. 

BirdLife Australia's Notice:

Entries open Friday May 28th - Monday August 2nd

Get ready, 2021's BirdLife Australia Photography Awards are opening later this month!

This year, we’re back with the same categories as 2020 but with a new special theme!

  • Backyard Birds
  • Birds in Flight
  • Bird Portrait
  • Bird Behaviour 
  • Landscapes and Habitat
  • Human Impact
  • Special Theme: Plovers, Dotterels & Lapwings
  • Youth

We are proud to announce that Nikon Australia, Lake Cowal Foundation and RSPCA Victoria are sponsoring the 2021 awards, each category winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, with a whopping $5,000 cash going to the portfolio winner courtesy of principal sponsor, Nikon Australia.

There is also a special Black and White photography prize which you can opt into during entry - up for grabs is a Peter Slater original illustration. 

The awards will open on May 28th and run through until August 2nd. For updates and more information, check out the awards website here:

We have a top international panel line up for 2021, welcoming both new and returning judges alike, including: Ian Wilson (BirdLife Photography, AUS), Sabine Meyer (Audubon, USA), Moose Peterson (USA),  Fiona Blandford (BirdLife Australia, AUS), Raoul Slater (UK), David Stowe (AUS), Gail Bisson (CAN).

REMINDER: when photographing wildlife, please ensure that you follow the BirdLife Photography ethics standards found here


Birds are in a daily fight for survival. Any injury or stress-induced illness will almost certainly result in death. Predators are everywhere; breeding is competitive and finding food imperative.

Further, our climate is changing and habitat is being cleared at a relentless rate. In concert, the number of bird photographers has increased phenomenally in the last two decades. The actions of photographers cannot be viewed in isolation. The more photographers there are, the greater the potential for impacting the daily existence of our birds. The effects of an ever increasing human population as well as an increasing photographic community must be regarded as cumulative.

In compiling these ethical guidelines, the BirdLife Photography Committee believes it is important to apply the internationally recognised "Precautionary Principle", which has been incorporated into Australian environmental law under s391 of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and is defined as follows:

"The precautionary principle is that lack of full scientific certainty [eg in relation to the impact of call playback on bird species] should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent degradation of the natural and cultural heritage of a reserve or zone where there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage."

Our Code of Ethics has been updated (March 2021) and is available here. All BLP members should review this important document; as a member you are bound by this policy.

It should be noted that for BirdLife Photography members these guidelines supersede any corresponding sections in the BirdLife Australia Ethical Birding Guidelines.

General Ethical Behaviour

The welfare of birds, and their habitat, must always come before the capture of the photograph.

It is important for bird photographers to act with the interests of birds in mind. This will require, at times, foregoing possible photographic opportunities in order to minimise impacts on birds.

Photographers should keep an appropriate distance from birds at all times, keep well back from sensitive areas, avoid harassing, flushing or pursuing birds in the pursuit of photographic opportunities, and should not alter the environment to clear the path for the photograph.

Bird photographers must at all times comply with applicable laws in the relevant State or Territory.

Members should also be aware of and comply with the BirdLife Australia Ethical Birdwatching Guidelines which are available at Members should apply this BirdLife Photography Code of Ethics for their photography, to the extent that it differs from the BirdLife guidelines. In full Code of Ethics at link above.

As a special interest group of BirdLife Australia, BirdLife Photography has attracted a strong community of bird lovers with a passion for photography. With its extensive online gallery of fine Australian bird images, BirdLife Photography provides both a forum and resource for photographers, bird observers and the public to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of birds through the medium of photography. Find out more here:

Happy photographing and stay safe.

This Issue some of our great local bird photographers share what they have captured this week and last - including this year's theme of plovers, dotterels and lapwings!

Neil Fifer - Ruddy Tunstone and Red Neck Stints over Long Reef, April 2021
Margaret Woods - Sooty oystercatcher 
Margaret Woods - Terns Bathing at Long Reef 

Margaret Woods - Pacific Golden Plover at Long Reef, April 2021

Margaret Woods - Grey Tattler at Long Reef
Joe Mills - Heron fishing, at Narrabeen Lagoon entrance 

Joe Mills - Pelican and seagulls reflected, at Narrabeen Lagoon entrance 

Joe Mills - This family of Plovers comes down to feed on the low tide rocks at the southern end of Turimetta Beach.


By Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast: April 29th, 2021

After being in care since the 28th January (13 weeks) with ASRCC and Dolphin Marine Conservation Park our gorgeous little Dimmi was released at Cabbage Tree Bay by her main carer Cathy along with the help from Carly from National Parks and Cathie and Johnno from CruiseAbilty at D'Albora Marina at Nelson's Bay!! 


Having a Little Blue Penguin in care would have costs us easily, well over hundreds of dollars in food but our awesome mates at The Entrance Boat Shed sponsored our Dimmi supplying all her food! She came into care with broken and fractured ribs and scoliosis of the spine, not sure if she would actually heal to be able to be released and under the watchful eye of Cathy and Veterinary Duan March from Coffs - the day we never thought would come did!!! 



Photos by  Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast (a 100% volunteer seabird rescue organisation).

ASR Central Coast - Rescuing Seabirds, Waterbirds, Shorebirds and Marine Turtles, Beach Cleanups & Education! Call if interested. Rescue Hotline 0438 862 676

Photographs as credited, report by A J Guesdon.