This is a bit of current information in case there are people thinking of
shorebirding in Caloundra over the holiday period. I went out onto the
sandbanks yesterday with my team, having not been out since late November.
We didn't attempt to cover the entire tern population as we used to (it's
great not to have that responsibility any more), but while we were there we
would have had around 6-7000 migratory terns present. We estimated that they
were around 80% Commons and 20% White-winged Blacks. However, with a high
tide for most of the afternoon there were no migratory terns present at all.
We covered the northern tip of Bribie island on the high tide, and when we
turned the scope seawards, saw thousands of terns fishing offshore. They
didn't come back to shore until after 5pm, and we left at 6pm. In the entire
afternoon we only saw a couple of Little Terns, but this can happen at this
time of year. Caspian, Gull-billed and Crested Terns were present in small
Also present were the usual waders: Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew,
Whimbrel, Great Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Greater and Lesser
Sand Plover. We saw and orange-flagged Common Tern and a green-flagged
Bar-tail, which I will report in due course.
Anyone wishing to witness the spectacular tern flocks would best aim for a
low tide around sunset, and view from Golden Beach with a scope. If you only
have binos, the best place is from further down the Passage around Ayliffe
Park across the short distance to the nearest sandbank, and at sunset you
will have the sun behind you. The largest flocks tend to occur between late
Jan and mid-late Feb. If you go out during the day, the results can be very
variable. It is not at all unusual for the entire flock to be there one
minute, and then suddenly they are all gone to sea.
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51' 152º 56'
Ph (07) 5494 0994
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