Re: Little Terns.

To: "jon wren" <>
Subject: Re: Little Terns.
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2000 09:19:18 +1000
Hi Jon,

As far as I know, you have a different population of Little Terns up your way.  As I understand it, there are three populations of sterna albifrons in Australia.
  • South-East Australian breeding population which is threatened, and which breeds SEAustralia in the Australian summer.
  • Northern hemisphere population which breeds in the northern hemisphere June/July and spends the northern winter in Australia (our summer).
  • Northern Australia population, which breeds in areas around the Gulf of Carpentaria (and I think as far north as the Philippines) during the Australian autumn.

I wonder which population you were looking at last month. It would be too early for the north Australian population to be going into breeding plumage in September. It would seem to be too far north for the  SEAust population, and so I guess it's possible you were looking at early returned birds from the northern hemisphere, still in breeding plumage after breeding.

Do you lose your Little Terns from Bowen, and if so, when? What kind of number would be a peak population flock up your way? Here in SE Qld we lose ours during the autumn, and they return during the late spring, and hang around all summer in very large numbers - thousands. All of the above comes off the top of my head without checking, so please correct me if I am in error.

I'll post separately on  yesterday's Caloundra sandbanks monitoring.

Nice to see you popping up again Jon. Say hi to the family from me, and we've still got the beds made up for you.


Gooday all,
I observed 9 Little Terns all in breeding plumage at the Bowen Saltworks 20 01 25S 148 13 50E on 19 September. They were quite successful with the dives into the water, catching small fish about 10mm in length and silver in colour. There high pitched call was given from time to time.
Jon Wren
You wrote:

>PS I'm wondering if anyone has yet seen any newly returned Little
>Terns in South-East Queensland.

No sign of them at any of the recent wader outings I have been at.

Linda Cross
Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51'        152º 56'

Ph (07) 5494 0994
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