I said I would report back on the plumage progress of WWTE yesterday. In
fact it was a lousy day for a survey. Few terns were present during the
afternoon, and what was there was surveyed in rain and wind. We were a
sodden trio out there on the rainswept sandbanks. The WWTE there did not
appear, through the misted lens, to have acquired any noticeable breeding
plumage, although while I was deep in a count, I did hear Judy Caughley
exclaim that a WWTE flew close by, exhibiting some darker plumage.
Birds started streaming in in thousands just before 5pm. We didn't see a
single bird after sunset (the birds were all in early), and sometimes the
after-sunset count can be many thousands. Our depth of field was poor in the
conditions, and I felt unconfident about our final result. I sometimes
wonder about the worth of going out there at all in such conditions, but I
suppose it's better than staying home and wondering what was there. I can't
bear having gaps in our data.
I hope to goodness conditions are better for our tern id day tomorrow.
But! The rain is wonderful.
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51' 152º 56'
Ph (07) 5494 0994
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