Stone-curlew Portrait

There’s been a buzz of talk and images recently about a Beach Stone-curlew that has been visiting Inverloch in Victoria, way out of its usual comfort zone.


Bush Stone-curlew - Kim Wormald

Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius)
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 3200


I took the above image a few weeks ago, of a captive bird – they have incredibly evocative expressions. Beach and Bush Stone-curlews are similar species. The lighting was poor and to keep a reasonable shutter speed I kept the aperture wide open, which resulted in the eye and nostril being sharp while other parts of the image fall to softness.

I haven’t been able to look for the Inverloch bird but did check the detailed snapshot provided by The New Atlas of Australian Birds (1998-2002) where is no record of Beach Stone-curlews coming so far south, though I’ve heard comments about a previous visitor to the area about 10 years ago. The Atlas is a fabulous resource of data gathered by approximately 7000 surveyors, all of whom are listed in the tome. I thoroughly enjoyed my commitment to do a regular 2 hectare Atlas survey and often consult the book when planning a trip or confirming the likelihood of an unexpected sighting.

If interested you could check a previous post, Bush Stone-curlew, for more information and comments about different backgrounds that looks practically identical to me now.

Happy birding, Kim


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14 comments to Stone-curlew Portrait

  • Dona

    Ho!Ho! I dare you, that’s the first impression of this fellow that I got. Great photo Kim especially like the detail you have caught the feathers.

  • Wow he looks angry! LOL Great shot though and interesting as it looks nothing like the curlews I’ve seen here in the states. Isn’t it lovely to have a great resource guide to help with identification and in finding some of those rare birds. You are indeed lucky!

    • lirralirra

      I wonder if the US has a similar Atlas or resource. It was a huge project, and I think I remember reading that it was the first of its ilk in the world. Maybe new ones have been started up since then in other regions.

  • Alyssa

    This is such a brilliant image, I really love it. Particularly the eye and the cross hatching of the feathers 🙂

  • The quality of the 5D is outstanding, even compared to the 7D, which you used for the earlier post. Lovely use of aperture in this shot. (I notice you no longer post the focal length, & this amateur would appreciate if you resumed doing so, learn a lot that way)

  • What a stunner. We often see birds ‘out of range’ here. I suspect that human influence often has a part to play as our activities denude their homes of habitat or food…

    • lirralirra

      I wonder if any comprehensive studies have been done that look at that, on a range of birds. This is my second winter in a row without Scarlet Robins, it makes me sad.

  • Elizabeth Shaw

    Hi Kim, I thought it was a Beach Stone-Curlew at Inverloch. I’ll have to look more carefully when I see it next. Whichever it’s a great sighting. Apparently it’s the third year in a row it’s been there.

    • lirralirra

      You’re absolutely right Elizabeth! Thank you for commenting. It took a while for my update to show on fb, maybe it still doesn’t. Anyways, I hope you get to see it again soon.

  • alain Adamski

    Hi Kim,
    A terrible look —> a very nice picture…
    Good week-end .

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