There is something quite preposterous about going out into the Inner Gulf to twitch anything given that pelagic birds are so mobile and capable of covering such vast distances. So when news reached me that there was a Brown Noddy out, I knew it was a rarity but I was also well aware that finding it could be a bit hit and miss. We were able to arrange a seaworthy boat thanks to Phil Round and Mr Deang so five us – Tom Backlund, Peter Ericsson, Dave Gandy and Jens Tøttrup – set off at 0800h this morning with Mr Dearng and Loong Yoong.
But somehow, and I guess this is even more preposterous, we did find it today. In fact it was very obliging in that it appears to be flitting between two large buoys about an hour out into the Gulf and thanks to the excellent boatmanship of Loon Yoong we were on the bird for a couple of hours this morning once we had located it. He really got us in close too.
At first glance Brown Noddy is very ordinary looking, appearing black from a distance but as you get in closer its real colours emerge,a mix of brown and grey, dark chocolate brown to be precise, and and as you get nearer its most distinctive feature can be seen: its forehead from the base of its bill to the crown….it’s almost like a dusting in places….and as you get nearer white crescents can be seen above and below its eye. It’s a reasonably large bird too, somewhat similar to Brown-headed Gull in size but an altogether different structure with a very distinct M shape when in the air. It really is sublimely and subtlely beautiful
While the sea was quite rough the weather stayed fair and we were blessed with lots of Common Terns, Whiskered Terns and White-winged Black Terns. On our return to the creek there was one Chinese Egret present. After lunch an early afternoon trip to the Abondonned Building failed to produce the reported Long-billed Dowitcher, but there must have been 20 or so Asian Dowitchers present, a more than adequate compensation.
A cracking day!