Re: Lady Eliott Island

Subject: Re: Lady Eliott Island
From: Julian Bielewicz <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 08:06:11 +1000
At 06:56 17/01/1999, Niels wrote:

>I had a rare opportunity to visit Lady Elliott Island over last weekend 


Fay and I have now visited Lady Elliott on three occasions, the first dating
back to late November 1993, followed by early December 1994 and again in
late November 1996.  Fascinating island (the southernmost of the Great
Barrier Reef archipelago) for birding, especially the seabirds.  

>Great Frigate Bird +10

There are usually a few Lesser Frigatebirds around too, just to give you a
pain in the neck when trying to id them in flight.

>Red-tailed Tropic Bird 1

They nest here from around late September to early October, I think.
Certainly by late November there are usually half a dozen juveniles around -
most nests are quite close to the units.

>Greater Crested Tern +250

On our last trip (c. 1996) there were several THOUSAND pairs nesting on the
runway edge!  A visiting Swedish wildlife photographer we met on the island
spent most of his time photographing the vast numbers.  On earlier visits
the Crested Tern nests (still the most prolific of the seabird colonies) had
been further back from the runway, nearer to the sea behind the drinks lounge.

>Buff-breasted Rail (a few around the inhabitation)

Must have suffered something of a population decline since '96.  They were
to be seen everywhere, especially around the "fast food" outlet opposite the
swimming pool.  Semi-tame and quite a pest at times.  Like small domestic
chooks?! I have some nice shots of a Buff-banded Rail chick taken behind the
dining-room area.

>Silver-eye:  a few
>House Sparrow a lot

Interesting population reversal this.  It was always the case of fairly
common Silvereye, unusual House Sparrow.

>BUT NO ROSENATE TERNS (RT), where are they?, RT should nest there, but I
>looked everywhere early morning and late afternoon (of couse without
>disturbing any nesting sites), also looked during midday but did not see
>any sign of them. But a lot of Black-naped Terns!!!

There were no Roseate Tern during our first visit in '93 but in '94 there
was a quite substantial (c. 20 pairs) nesting colony.  Indeed, for those in
QOSI who recall my "Best Seabird" shot, the Roseate Tern was taken here.  In
'96 we saw only small numbers of Roseate but the Black-naped Tern appeared
to have increased in number - managed a couple of half decent shots of these.

It is always a spot worth taking binoculars and camera equipment to.


Julian Bielewicz
Past President
Queensland Ornithological Society

12 Florence Street
Kippa-Ring, Q. 4021

Tel:    +61 7 3283 4921
Fax:    +61 7 3889 4272

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