Little terns breeding at Penrhyn Estuary, Botany Bay

To: Crispin Marsh <>
Subject: Little terns breeding at Penrhyn Estuary, Botany Bay
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 09:50:37 +1100

Hi Peter and all

I spoke to someone at NPWS last week about the Little Terns at Penrhyn and they explained that the reason there was a delay in getting the fence up in the first place was due to a little red tape. The property is not owned by NPWS and for this reason a few extra hoops had to be jumped through. Otherwise, they were moving on it pretty quickly.

By the way, is the Fairy Tern still present?

Happy birding

Ricki Coughlan

On 15/01/2007, at 9:15 AM, Crispin Marsh wrote:

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 unhatched.

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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