Little terns breeding at Penrhyn Estuary, Botany Bay

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Little terns breeding at Penrhyn Estuary, Botany Bay
From: "Crispin Marsh" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 09:15:33 +1100
Dear Birders
Following on from a number of recent postings regarding the little terns 
breeding at Penrhyn Estuary on Botany Bay, Sydney I visited the site yesterday. 
The NPWS have now erected a very substantial fence surrounding the whole 
breeding site which will at least deter humans from walking over the chicks and 
eggs. The NPWS are monitoring the site each day and we met a ranger (John) at 
the site yesterday at around 11:00 am.

There were around 19 adults present and I saw 4 chicks - sandy coloured little 
bundles of fluff which alternated between hiding behind or beneath various bits 
of rubbish on the site and dashing about with their little bills agape. Adults 
were regularly flying over with small fish in their beaks and calling. I saw 
one chick return a call and the adult quickly dropped down and stuffed a fish 
down the chicks throat before rapidly departing. I also saw on a number of 
occasions an adult landing with a fish in its beak and sitting on the sand for 
a minute or so calling without ever connecting with a chick, the adult would 
then fly off.

John said that he had seen 5 chicks and IU suspect that there were more as a 
couple of adults dropped down into bitou bush at the eastern end of the site 
with food but we were unable to see the chick. John also had noted 3 eggs 

There were a number of the usual other regular species around. It was quite 
noticeable that there were no people on the sand spit at all. This might have 
been chance or it might have been a result of the very prominent notices put up 
by NPWS. A great birding experience and we can only hope that this breeding 
exercise is successful.

Peter Marsh

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