Common Terns at Ricketts Point SE Melbourne

Subject: Common Terns at Ricketts Point SE Melbourne
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004 22:17:47 +1000
Masses, by our standards, of Common Terns today (Saturday). My highest reliable 
count was 131, almost three times the previous high count of this JAMBA/CAMBA 
protected species here. I wonder how that compares with other Victorian counts 
and if the protection from disturbance by anglers has anything to do with the 
numbers. Few had dark bands on the coverts and some had long tail streamers.  
They have been around for at least 5 days now.

Around 9am there were 75 with many on rock platforms accessible via dry land.  
A dog shifted 8 of them.

I went back at 11am expecting all to be gone but saw 79 with the number 
increasing in the next hour to 130 plus (with the tide now even lower).  
However all but 4 were on rocks surrounded by water.  The largest group - 86 - 
just beyond the triangle at Ricketts Point proper disappeared, bar c6 of them, 
within minutes of people approaching to the nearest point on land. 

I doubt it, but this may have been to join the gulls around 500+ short-tailed 
shearwaters which had just settled far out in Beaumaris Bay (included in a 
total of at least 1500 seen around noon).

A Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater in the foreshore added to the visit.

(Other birds today included a Richard's Pipit at Sandringham's Picnic Point, 
seen by Ian Parsons.  Other recent sightings were Rose Robin at the Love St car 
park a week ago, and a Buff-banded Rail at Elsternwick Golf Course where one 
stayed for 6 weeks last year and 5 months in 2002.)

Michael Norris

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