Re: Gulls and Terns at Rickets Point

To: Laurence Living <>
Subject: Re: Gulls and Terns at Rickets Point
Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 21:12:52 +1100
Hi Laurie and all interested in the Melbourne area

Thanks for that. This is a long way of saying I don't know where
the birds have come from. 

I had meant to respond earlier to a posting from Richard Dilena
referring to Swan Bay (subject Wader Count 11 Feb 2001).  He
said "Low numbers of Silver Gull, no Straw-necked Ibis ..
Usually see large numbers of Ibis and Gulls".

Well over here in Bayside on the eastern side of Port Phillip we
have had no ibis records this year (although there are quite a
few not far south at Braeside etc.).  But at least 2000 silver
gulls on the sea (a record count on my database) and several
counts of more than 500 at various sites (inc 550 at Ricketts
Point on 6/2).  1998 also had quite a few high counts early in
the year. Were there low counts in the west of the Bay that

But the Crested Tern figures have been startling. Moira Longden
(who wrote up her Ricketts Point Crested Tern counts for Dec
1990 to August 1994, with Clive Minton, in the Oct 1994 VWSG
Bulletin) tells me she counted c.1100 there on 22/2/2001.  Her
previous record count was 426 in May 1993 with 210 in Feb 1994
and about 300 in Feb 2000.  

We've not yet identified many SA birds in the flocks (I think
those are the ones with green bands - oh my fluffy Night Parrot)
but Moira said that lots of Crested Terns were breeding at Mud
Island this year with overflow breeding at the Nobbies, Phillip
Island. So the numbers might be accounted for purely by
Victorian birds even though Clive Minton reckons there could be
SA birds ("common at Ricketts Point, February to April"
according to Moira's article).

Perhaps the experts can add more.

The bay anglers say there have been masses of whiting attracting
the gulls at sea.  Interesting that we have also had a good
number of dolphin and seal records in the last 12 months (plus
gannets).  Skuas and penguins very low.

Michael Norris

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