Terns, SEQ

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Terns, SEQ
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 09:21:16 +1000
Hi All,

In case anyone is chasing migratory terns or tern shots, don't bother with Caloundra, Sunshine Coast. I checked there last night and went home about 6.30. Barb Dickson, my hardier offsider clung on and got about 660 migratory terns coming in at about 7.15-7.30pm to roost, but so late that views were minimal.

Dorothy Pashniak last night reported small numbers at Inskip Point (just south of Fraser Is).

They seem to be concentrated right now around the Noosa area. For locals, I'll copy below the report I wrote for a selected list after Tuesday's surveys. Don't bother if you are not interested in shorebirds. If you go to Noosa, there is now a public telescope at Noosa Woods, and if the terns are in the right place you will see them, but if it's photos you want, you'll need water transport.

Copy of informal report below, with numbers at the bottom. The category of Migratory Terns is used when we are unable to separate to species level.


Hi Everyone,

We conducted our January surveys (12/1) on a super-high tide, almost the maximum tide level which appears in the published tables. Thanks as always to my wonderful band of helpers - you keep me stimulated, motivated and active. I love it when you challenge me, because you might be right, and I might learn something new!

Birds only used two roosting places. Nothing else was available. One was the protected sand island (Site 2), which was mostly flooded, with odd grassed and vine-covered hillocks which the birds used. The other was the north shore spit (Site 1), but there was very little of the protected zone available, heaps of disturbance from boaties, and the birds chose to roost north of the bollards. They were able to do this because the extreme tides meant no beach traffic could come down the beach.

On the low tide surveys, there was heaps of disturbance everywhere, as you would expect at this time of year. I remain concerned about boaties using the beach of Site 2 (sand island) right next to the Do Not Enter signs, as it sets a bad example. They say they don't go into the vegetation, but soon they will. Or others will see them there and do so.

Annie and Ben:
A no-go sign which was recently installed on the beach side of the bollards is now missing. It could have been taken down, but it's also possible it was washed away.
A jetskier, whose craft rego was .......... ,was hooning around the breeding island, Site 2, at full speed, actually going through the wave breach in the no-go sand island where the birds were roosting. I have a photo of him.

Last month, when the tide was also very high, the shorebirds roosted with the terns on the north shore, but this time, although they could have done so, they chose not to, and I think this may have been due to constant disturbance. Instead they roosted where they never roost - in the sand island vegetation. Some species were missing for the entire day, and you can't put this down to the high tide surely. They were also missing on the low tide. I picked up 10 Whimbrel from pics when the birds lifted from the sand island on the high tide. One male Bar-tailed Godwit had a fair amount of breeding plumage, and I got a pic of him standing in the dune grasses.

For the first time we had THREE Beach Stone-Curlew on the sand island, but the addition was an adult bird, which may have been displaced from further afield by the high tide.

Terns: we had our fill of migrant terns  for the first time this season. It was great to see them, and we ended the evening with a good score, more than 15,000. We got some very useful shots of them on the high tide roost. A handful of the Little Terns had fading yellow bills, indicating, at this stage, local breeders, as it's too early for the Asians to get yellow bills. Crested Terns: the breeding caps are starting to moult. No arrivals yet of juvenile Cresteds from the breeding islands.

To the numbers below. During the afternoon I counted 4000 migrant terns in 10s on site 3, then assessed/guessed the percentages of each species to 85% COTE, 10% LITE, 5% WWTE. After this we saw terns arriving fast, and Allan calculated their arrivals at 1/sec or 300 every 5 mins. So I added another 1000 ( conservative) and kept the same percentages. With the shorebird species, you'll see there were some wild swings between tides, and I have no answer for that. It gets down to tide height and to disturbance, but can't determine, and it may vary with species.

Come the evening survey from Noosa Woods, we had to estimate the size of the roosting flock to begin, and through the scope arrived at 8000, then started adding to them as birds arrived from the sea.

Tide positions below: 1=high; 3=low; 4=rising (evening survey).

Survey_Date Tide_Position Species_Id Common_Name Sum Of Number_Seen Totals
12-Jan-09 1 1 Caspian Tern 1  
12-Jan-09 1 2 CommonTern 1150  
12-Jan-09 1 3 Crested Tern 312  
12-Jan-09 1 5 Little Tern 400  
12-Jan-09 1 6 White-winged Black Tern 1150  
12-Jan-09 1 8 Silver Gull 72  
12-Jan-09 1 10 Eastern Curlew 3  
12-Jan-09 1 11 Whimbrel 10  
12-Jan-09 1 12 Bar-tailed Godwit 72  
12-Jan-09 1 17 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 3  
12-Jan-09 1 21 Red-necked Stint 2  
12-Jan-09 1 27 Red-capped Plover 15  
12-Jan-09 1 29 Pacific Golden Plover 35  
12-Jan-09 1 36 Australian Pelican 6  
12-Jan-09 1 37 Little Pied Cormorant 1  
12-Jan-09 1 50 Osprey 1  
12-Jan-09 1 51 White-bellied Sea-Eagle 1  
12-Jan-09 1 57 Pacific Black Duck 4  
12-Jan-09 1 58 Beach Stone-Curlew 3 3241
12-Jan-09 3 2 CommonTern 4250  
12-Jan-09 3 5 Little Tern 500  
12-Jan-09 3 6 White-winged Black Tern 250  
12-Jan-09 3 8 Silver Gull 98  
12-Jan-09 3 10 Eastern Curlew 4  
12-Jan-09 3 11 Whimbrel 1  
12-Jan-09 3 12 Bar-tailed Godwit 44  
12-Jan-09 3 27 Red-capped Plover 24  
12-Jan-09 3 29 Pacific Golden Plover 28  
12-Jan-09 3 36 Australian Pelican 20  
12-Jan-09 3 38 Pied Cormorant 6  
12-Jan-09 3 48 Whistling Kite 1  
12-Jan-09 3 50 Osprey 1  
12-Jan-09 3 51 White-bellied Sea-Eagle 1  
12-Jan-09 3 58 Beach Stone-Curlew 1 5229
12-Jan-09 4 3 Crested Tern 51  
12-Jan-09 4 8 Silver Gull 13  
12-Jan-09 4 9 Terns migratory 15030  
12-Jan-09 4 40 Little Black Cormorant 1  
12-Jan-09 4 54 Striated Heron 1 15096



Jill Dening
PO Box 362
10 Piat Place
Beerwah Qld 4519
26° 51' 41"S	152° 56' 00"E
07 5494 0994
0419 714405

Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

26° 51' 41"S	152° 56' 00"E

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