Terns, Caloundra, SEQld

To: APMW <>, birding-aus <>, (ERROR) PassagePeople:;
Subject: Terns, Caloundra, SEQld
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 11:26:56 +1100
Hello everyone,

Our weekly tern surveys at Caloundra produced a large haul of birds last Thursday 18-1-01, as follows:

TOTAL NUMBER OF BIRDS           16,384  (This is all species seen, incl waders)

Tern, Caspian           0                              
Tern, Common            2532
Tern, Crested           313
Tern, Gull-billed               0
Tern, Little            260
Tern, White-winged      374     456
Tern spp                        0
Gull, Silver            101
Terns, unidentified             12210

Total terns             15,771

We were unable to ID the 12,210 terns by species because of distance, but they were definitely terns coming in from the sea to roost on the sandbanks.
  • Whilst there is a small possibility of their being Cresteds, this is unlikely, given that Cresteds usually arrive by a different route, and that they have not been here in large numbers recently. The first Crested fledglings are just beginning to turn up now with their parents.
  • Little Terns would have been too difficult to pick up at the distances we were dealing with.
  • We believe that they were most likely mainly Common Terns.

But why so many so suddenly? A storm was looming, and we pondered the possibility of this being an influence. Perhaps their target fish were schooling off Caloundra and the storm sent them for cover? The storm hit Caloundra about 10 minutes after sunset, and we had to pack up. Terns were still flying in in droves as we packed up. Or perhaps the Common Terns which settle further south during the summer are starting to move north prior to their migration to the northern hemisphere?

There was one orange-flagged Common Tern - right tarsus.  Linda, a copy of this is going to Clive Minton.

Has anyone started to notice a drop off of Common Terns in Victoria yet? Any wise comments?


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

Ph (07) 5494 0994
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