Little Terns in Botany Bay

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Little Terns in Botany Bay
From: "Darryl McKay" <>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 20:42:51 +1100

This particular bird that was seen at Penryhn Inlet and claimed to be DISTRESSED and picking at its FLAGS was banded as a first year bird, 21/02/1994 at Harrington. This means that this bird has had the flags on for 12 YEARS. During my ten years of working with Little Terns I have never witnessed any bird pecking at their flags or having any discomfort at all. At Penryhn Inlet over the past two weeks I have recorded 26 birds with colour flags with 17 of these birds being older than 8 years and the oldest being 14+. This bird with colour flags black over green on left leg and blue over metal on right leg was first banded and flags placed on as a breeding adult 03/12/1994 at Towra Point. Since then it has been recorded 15 times, at Towra Point, Boatharbour and Penryhn Inlet and has been recorded nesting at Towra Point 21/12/1994, 17/01/1996, 03/12/1996, 10/11/1997, 30/11/1998. It is at this moment nesting at Penryhn Inlet and have successfully hatched 2 chicks. Another bird with green over pale and black over metal was first banded as a chick 26/12/1998 at Towra Point, then recorded nesting 16/01/2000 at Towra Point and recorded in the field 11/03/2001 at Tweed River Entrance. At this moment it is nesting at Penryhn Inlet and has 1 egg and 1 chick that hatched today. Another bird green over white and green over metal was first banded as an adult 11/12/1999 at Harrington, then recorded in field 30/01/2000 at South Ballina, 20/01/2001 at Manning Point, 28/12/2002 at Manning Point, 22/01/2003 at Boat Harbour, 20/10/2003 at Penryhn Inlet, and today at Penryhn Inlet. Most of these flagged birds were banded at Towra Point and 4 birds originating from the Harrington colony.

As for the nesting I met with NPWS today and they will have the breeding site fenced off tomorrow. There are 10 nests with 9 chicks hatched so far. Incredibly no eggs or chicks have been lost at this stage despite the disturbance of dogs and people, I am truly amazed that they have survived this long. The danger is not over yet as the chicks are still vulnerable to foxs and cats that are known to be in the area.

Darryl McKay

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