Aleutian Terns - A BARC Question

To: Peter Shute <>, Laurie Knight <>
Subject: Aleutian Terns - A BARC Question
From: Tom Wilson <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2018 10:28:14 +0000
Certainly did – nice pic – and nice to meet you on Sunday Laurie.
While these are the first recorded birds, my personal theory is that they are 
probably regular visitors (eg Liam Murphy reckoned he might have seen but not 
recognised them last summer).  One can see how they might easily slip through 
the net as they are:
1. superficially similar to non-breeding Commons (and possibly other 
non-breeding visitors) so might not get a  second glance;
2. there’s a lot of east coast and (relatively) not that many birders covering 
it; and 
3. nobody has been specifically looking for them as nobody knew they would be 
here to be looked for (increasing the impact of 1. above)
On 2. there must be huge stretches of the east coast, particularly in 
Queensland that receive little or no birder coverage due to accessibility, 
conditions at that time of year, other hazards further north (eg crocs, having 
to get past the mangroves etc)
So that all adds up to great work by Liam Murphy in finding them.
Tom Wilson

From: Peter Shute 
Sent: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 6:49 AM
To: Laurie Knight 
Subject: Aleutian Terns - A BARC Question

The list server removed Laurie's photo, I suspect because of the way Apple Macs 
format email attachments. Just checking if it lets it through if I attach it 
with my iPad.
Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

On 8 Jan 2018, at 10:22 pm, Laurie Knight 
<<>> wrote:


I had the pleasure of an hour or two with the Aleutian Terns at Old Bar 
yesterday.  I was travelling from Sydney to Brisbane, and it was no difficulty 
to divert the dozen km off the highway.

The terns were remarkably settled and very tolerant of people.  They only took 
to the air while I was there when some people were flying threatening shaped 
kites behind the Little Tern nesting area.

Normally when rarities are recorded in Australia, they either show up on the 
periphery, not an outrageous distance from their normal range, or as single 
birds.     The reports from Old Bar [thousands of km from their known range] 
suggest there are a potentially a dozen individuals or more - potentially a 

My question is how often has BARC recorded a flock of a species not on the 
Australian list in the southern half of the mainland?  Does this suggest a 
major shift in the distribution of Aleutian Terns or a gap in Australian 

Regards, Laurie.

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