Re beach washed Shearwaters

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Re beach washed Shearwaters
From: "Terrance Pacey" <>
Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2000 16:47:48 +1000
Michael Mules quoted "The Handbook of Australian Seabirds".

"In some years serious mortalities occur on the east Australian coast during
the southward migration in late October to January.  Thousands of birds may
wash ashore from southern Queensland to southern New South Wales, the deaths
being correlated with a shortage of food during the transit migration,
probably accelerated through exhaustion in battling through the S.E. Trades
Wind belt.  Adults suffer far less.  Banding results have shown that most of
such birds are yearlings.  Even so, though many thousands of birds may
perish, in relation to the total number of individuals involved the death
rate is not high." (THAS, p.133)

Thinking on this may shed some light on my previous posting and narrow down
the year the locals were referring to.

In 1975 or 1976, while I was living in the Solomon Islands, the SE Trades
were so strong that not one cruising yacht was able to complete the journey
from Solomon Islands to New Zealand.  One or two crept through to PNG and
then down the Australian coast to Tasmania and rode the Roaring Forties to
the south island of NZ.  All other attempts to sail into the trades were
unsuccessful.  It is possible that was the same year that was referred to
when I was I was told that the number of dead was way above the numbers seen
for many years but did go near matching
the numbers that occurred during one year about 30 or 40 years ago.

Terry Pacey
Toowoomba Qld 4350

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