The discussion on beach-wrecked short-tailed shearwaters in the last couple
of weeks, and the discussion of whether this is a regular, or unusual event,
has been most interesting. The Australian Seabird Group has now been running
a beach patrol scheme since 1992, with an aim to answer just such questions.
It is only early days yet, so it is too soon to be able to answer these
questions (though in December 1993 short-tailed shearwaters were washed up
in norhtern NSW at a rate of over 10/km), especially in the central NSW
region where so far only a small number of beachwalks have been contributed.
But, now that you have seen the questions that can be asked, and the ease
with which you can help answer them, I would like to encourage you to join
up to the ASG beach patrol scheme and help contribute to the gathering of
records of this kind. You only need to cover a short beach (e.g. running 1
km along Maroubra beach) on a regular basis, and count the birds washed up
in order to contribute information that will be scientifically invaluable in
To join the scheme, either e-mail, or write to me for a beach patrol kit. I
look forward to more contributors joining up.
Marine Ecosystems Unit
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 44a