I believe you could add a comment about the White winged Black
Terns method of flight being quite distinctive "erratic, buoyant
Gooday birding-aussers, Thought this may interest you all. It
is great to be able to read back through old diaries they certainly rekindle the
Further to the Artic Tern issue, and ABW March 1980 Vol 8 No
I dug up Bill Whaymans diary and wish to share this
"Esplanade Cairns Qld. 3 December 1979.
Jon spotted a small tern in a resting position at a distance
of some 100ft in company with a few Little Terns and assorted waders. We noticed
that the tail of this bird appeared to extend beyond the wing tips. Comparing
the bird with nearby Little Tern we estimated a length of some 13
The forehead showed a fairly large area of white and the crown
was blackish. Below the crown showed whitish and the upper wings appeared to be
brownish-grey. The bill could have been blackish- certainly dark in colour- the
legs unfortunately, were hidden. As the bird took off the rump showed
Jon after checking various publications and comparing against
his own findings, feels this bird could be an Artic Tern (Winter
At the time I am inclined to agree and we decided to work on
this theory if and when we got another sighting.
We realise that this species is way off its known flight
migration path but to a species with proven record distances it would not be
impossible to change its route if so required."
"Esplanade Cairns. 5 December 1979
Had three sightings- unfortunately again brief of our new Tern
Very little to add except that on the second sighting I
noticed that the upper tail, back and rump appeared white and the upper wing
showed in sunlight as an ashy brown.
I have now decided to include the Common Tern as a contender
as I understand that this species and the Artic are extremely difficult to
separate in the field. The Common could pass through this area. We must now keep
our fingers crossed for further sightings." End