Fwd: Post mortem Noosa shorebird and tern survey Thursday, Sept 15, 2011

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Fwd: Post mortem Noosa shorebird and tern survey Thursday, Sept 15, 2011 SEQld
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:52:53 +1000
Hi All,
From time to time I post my monthly report for our shorbird and tern surveys in Noosa. Here's this month's, following. I have deleted the attached pics. The report is written for the benefit of council officers, and I'm surprised when I meet people to learn how far and wide the report travels within council. The objective is to keep a recognition within council of their estuary birds.



Hi All,

Barb Dickson and I carried out the Sept Noosa survey with Josh Walton and Kane Ransom from council's waterways team. The conditions were splendid, though there weren't a lot of birds. Below is the result of our work on the high tide (position 1) and the evening survey (position 5). We missed the August survey altogether. I was away for the entire month, and Barb lost two opportunities through weather and illness. It's difficult to find a tide which matches our needs, plus having the availability of the council boat, so it's not as if it can be done just anytime. Therefore we will henceforth always have a hole in our data for August, 2011, but life will be OK despite that.

Sometimes I have a tussle with my pernickety left brain when entering data. Fact is, we didn't actually SEE a Beach Stone-Curlew. Fact is, it was definitely present, evidenced by very fresh footprints on Site 2 and again on Site 1. Birds can be moving around the estuary and we can miss them. The big picture from my right brain won the tussle, because it would be wrong to leave out a bird which was present, but not seen. It would suggest that the bird was not there. So it's on the list below, and thank goodness we have taught ourselves to differentiate the footprints! The council chaps picked them up and showed us.

It's already September, but on Thursday we had only three species which were clearly just back from migration. I had been looking out for returned Bar-tailed Godwits, because our Tin Can Bay colleague had called to say she still didn't have any returned godwits, and asked if we had any. We did not on Thursday. Our returned species were Pacific Golden Plover (July=0), Whimbrel (July=2) and a single Red Knot, which was looking very unkempt, as it was midway between breeding and non-breeding plumage. Red Knot is not a species which is usually seen in Noosa, except on migration. This was only our 6th sighting of the species in Noosa.

The survey occurred before the school holidays began, but there was a great deal of human activity in the estuary. On the way back we stopped for Josh and Kane to speak to a couple who had their big dogs running loose on the same sandbank as the terns. When they became aware of our approach the man quickly put the dogs on the lead, and then complained that there were no signs to say dogs were not allowed. Kane gave them a brochure, whilst I took the attached pic.

The evening survey on a rising tide was idyllic. No cloud, a touch of breeze, no kite surfers hindering our view of arriving birds. The Crested Terns arrived in such an orderly manner that I was able to click each one singly, arriving at a total of 2734 (July=1138; June 718). Numbers of Crested Terns should continue to build up each month until they go off to breed in early summer at places like Cook Island at the mouth of the Tweed River, or perhaps Lady Elliott or Lady Musgrave Island. They'll bring their babies back from the end of January. I've attached a cropped pic which demonstrates why they are called Crested Terns.

Migratory terns may arrive in October, or perhaps November. One year it was December before we saw them. I've come to believe the presence of migratory terns is  closely linked to the amount of beach netting for table fish in the area. When the netters are active, they take the table fish, so the survivors abandon the area for a while, and there are no predator fish to push the bait fish to the surface for the terns to feed upon in the nearby ocean. This means longer trips to feed out at sea during the day, and perhaps they will choose a different night roost when the distance gets too great.

We only note Sacred Kingfishers when they are using the intertidal sandbanks, and this occurs through the winter. September seems late to have them around the sandbanks. We have never seen Collared Kingfishers in Noosa, although there are plenty of mangroves. Oh, yes, one more thing: life is tragic if you are an inexperienced Crested Tern and you swallow a hook and fishing line. We were unable to catch the poor bird, which was still able to fly, but it has no prospect of survival.



Survey_Date Tide_Position Species_Id Common_Name Bird Type Sum Of Number_Seen
15-Sep-11 1 1 Caspian Tern Tern Resident 1
15-Sep-11 1 3 Crested Tern Tern Resident 445
15-Sep-11 1 4 Gull-billed Tern Tern Resident 4
15-Sep-11 1 8 Silver Gull Gull 36
15-Sep-11 1 10 Eastern Curlew Wader Migratory 2
15-Sep-11 1 11 Whimbrel Wader Migratory 28
15-Sep-11 1 12 Bar-tailed Godwit Wader Migratory 1
15-Sep-11 1 15 Red Knot Wader Migratory 1
15-Sep-11 1 21 Red-necked Stint Wader Migratory 2
15-Sep-11 1 27 Red-capped Plover Wader Resident 21
15-Sep-11 1 29 Pacific Golden Plover Wader Migratory 20
15-Sep-11 1 31 Pied Oystercatcher Wader Resident 2
15-Sep-11 1 43 White-faced Heron Wading Bird 1
15-Sep-11 1 44 Egret spp Wading Bird 15
15-Sep-11 1 49 Brahminy Kite Raptor 1
15-Sep-11 1 51 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Raptor 1
15-Sep-11 5 3 Crested Tern Tern Resident 2734
15-Sep-11 5 8 Silver Gull Gull 34
15-Sep-11 5 12 Bar-tailed Godwit Wader Migratory 2
15-Sep-11 5 38 Pied Cormorant Waterbird 2
15-Sep-11 5 50 Osprey Raptor 1
15-Sep-11 5 55 Sacred Kingfisher Bush Bird 2

Jill Dening
PO Box 362
10 Piat Place
Beerwah Qld 4519
(All mail to PO box please)
26° 51' 41"S	152° 56' 00"E
07 5494 0994
0419 714405

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