Common Terns in SE Melbourne

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Common Terns in SE Melbourne
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 22:43:50 +1100
Today (Thursday) I was told by Moira Longden that there were
20! commic terns, which she presumed were Common Terns, at
Ricketts Point, Beaumaris. This included one with a complete
black cap. (I saw one such at Black Rock - Fisherman's Point
- on 21st November).

Yesterday I saw 12 commic terns there, none with a white
trailing edge to primaries (and none of the 10 carefully
checked with this feature).  One, from lifted underside of
the wing, was definitely a Common Tern (outer feathers -
primaries - dusky, paler - probably translucent

BUT EVEN I COULD BE WRONG !!! The latest Bird Observer (no
815) includes an unusual sighting on 21st October at
Ricketts Point by the BOCA beginners course of 2
White-fronted Terns and c25 Common Terns !!!!  Just when I
was reporting commic terns with all those I had positively
identified being White-fronted.

Marvellous to have an opportunity to argue about this! 
Despite the continuing disturbance it seems the saltmarsh
plants on the reefs (two Wilsonia spp and Sarcocornia
quinqueflora) are doing well. Perhaps only because of all
the poo put there by the huge (and unnatural) numbers of
Silver Gulls earlier in the year??

Michael Norris

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