Oriental Plovers At Kingston Rest Station

On Saturday 16th September 1995, Jim Gardner (from Kununurra) and I visited Kingston Rest Station about 70km from Kununurra towards Halls Creek.  We went to several sites including a dam that they built in late 1994 to reclaim water after irrigation.

I observed 11 waders on the muddy shore close to the water. I approached on foot to less than 10 metres before they took flight which confirmed that they were Oriental Plovers (no white rump or wing bars, etc).  It is very seldom that I can approach waders this closely.  It was only when I got very close that they started to call and to walk along the shore before they flew.

They flew a few hundred metres along the dam and disappeared over the surrounding earth bank.  We followed about 10 minutes later and found them on a small area of open ground near some small (about 0.5 metre) bushes.  Some were standing in the shadows, while others were standing still, first on one leg and then on the other as if the ground was hot.  Again, I was able to approach to less than 10 metres in the car without flushing them.  They were calling but made no attempt to walk or fly away.  Jim was able to video some of them through the open window.

We continued around the dam to another area where we found 7 more Oriental Plovers roosting on a large open area about 30 metres from the shore.  We didn’t try to get closer than about 30 metres, and they largely ignored us.  We couldn’t continue any further because of a drain, so we returned the way that we came.  The first group was still there, although some had moved under some taller (2 to 3 metres) bushes and were almost hidden under the lower branches.  I have not heard of waders taking shelter under trees / bushes before.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002