Caloundra sandbanks, SEQld, 20-3-03

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Caloundra sandbanks, SEQld, 20-3-03
From: jilldening <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 12:05:48 +1000
Hi Everyone,

I've had a bit of a whinge of late about the lousy weather conditions in
which we have conducted our Caloundra sandbanks surveys, and so it's
appropriate that I gush now over Thursday's magic conditions.

It was a day worth bottling. When people who know what they are about, and
who respect and like each other, get together in a beautiful place, in
magnificent weather, with a full complement of birds laid out like a
smorgasbord, well, what should I say, it was simply memorable. I think we
all slept with smiles on our faces on Thursday night.

We started with about 7500 terns on the sandbanks. By 5.30pm, when the
boating component of the surveys ended, we had 11,000 terns. I have never
seen so many White-winged Black Terns in my life. At present most of them
stand out from a flock in flight with strong black on the underwing - you
don't have to look for the stubby tails to distinguish them anymore. At
rest, they are gaining the white in their wings which gives them their name,
as well as, now, being well into body moult towards black. Already many have
clean, white rumps too. It's a sight that makes my heart sing.

Bob Inglis came with us and has already, I'm told, started posting photos on
a website, which I think Terry Pacey called Ozbirds, when I was talking to
him last night.

But the awesome part of Thursday's survey came in the evening. As Judy
Caughley put it, "I am so glad to have seen this evening's arrivals, because
you couldn't do it justice with a description." Between 17:30 and 18:02
13,090 migratory terns arrived; between 18:02 and 18:42, when our eyes gave
in to the darkness, 14,420 arrived. I had one counter in one hand clicking
birds in tens, and another in the other hand, clicking birds in hundreds. We
were buggered at the end of it. But wouldn't have missed it for quids.

Below is a list of birds seen between 1.30pm and last light.



BIRDS SEEN 20-3-03
Total all species    39,703
Total migrant terns    38,640

Caspian Tern    1
Common Tern    5261
Crested Tern    331
Gull-billed Tern    10
Little Tern    1999
White-winged Tern    3740
Silver Gull    260
Terns unidentified    27640 (these are all  Common, Little and WWing)
Eastern Curlew    15
Whimbrel    19
Bar-tailed Godwit    177
Curlew Sandpiper    30
Common Greenshank    1
Terek Sandpiper    3
Red-necked Stint    4
Grey-tailed Tattler    18
Greater Sand Plover    13
Lesser Sand Plover    1
Red-capped Plover    19
Pacific Golden Plover    101
Plover spp unidentified    3
Pied Oystercatcher    2
Australian Pelican    27
Pied Cormorant    24
Little Black Cormorant    1
Whistling Kite    1
Osprey    1
White-bellied Sea-Eagle    1

Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51'     152º 56'
Ph (07) 5494 0994

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