Little Terns and Short-tailed Shearwaters

Subject: Little Terns and Short-tailed Shearwaters
From: Rod Gardner <>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 16:14:16 +1100

I've heard that Little Terns haven't returned to
one of their major breeding sites in northern
NSW, which normally has 40 breeding pairs and a
couple of hundred non-breeders hanging around.
This year only 7 birds have turned up so far. Is
there any news from other breeding sites in NSW,
or other states? They normally arrive in numbers
in October. Is this a sign of some catastrophe
that's befallen them?

While I'm at it, I've been doing regular sea
watches from Maroubra, Sydney, and this year
there have been very low numbers of Short-tailed
Shearwaters passing. The adults normally go
through well offshore in September, and Mike
Carter reported half a million birds seen on a
Port Fairy pelagic recently, so they obviously
got through okay. The immatures, which arrive in
late October-November- December, usually pass
closer to the coast, and usually there are days
when tens of thousands an hour pass by. This year
so far there have only been hundreds. They could
be passing further off the coast, or maybe
they're late this year. Anyone seen any strong
passage in the past few weeks?


Dr Rod Gardner
Senior Lecturer
Department of Linguistics
School of Modern Language Studies
University of New South Wales
NSW 2052

Tel: ±61 2 9385 1454
Fax: ±61 2 9385 8723

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