Migrant terns have arrived in Caloundra, SEQ

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Migrant terns have arrived in Caloundra, SEQ
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 10:04:28 +1000
Hi All,

Thanks to Andy Jenson for reporting the first arrivals of migratory terns to Caloundra, Sunshine Coast, SEQld. Unfortunately I have commitments for the coming evenings and can't get there to see myself. Barb Dickson checked them out last night, and her feedback is below.
MITE: migratory terns
COTE: Common tern
WWTE: White-winged Black Tern
LITE: Little Tern
BRKI: Brahminy Kite

"...but I was really focussing on the terns.  Flocks were coming in from the sea and entering the Passage over Bribie Island to land on what I would call SBN4, which was nearly abeam the Sea Cadets place, but to the S.  There appeared to be about 1500 MITE down there and coming in.  1740-1800.
We moved to the Sea Cadets place and were eaten by mozzies and green ants - what I do to satisfy my need to quantify what terns I could see!  I was there from 1800-1830...a BRKI (Brahminy Kite) lifted the flock about 1815 and I estimated around 2000 terns.  I counted them about 5 times, and am happy with that estimate, but they were flighty and washing themselves in the Passage...much moving and shuffling.  Could easily have been more...and terns still arriving.
My estimate is 70% WWTE and 30% COTE...I didn't see any LITE.  They could have been there, but I didn't notice them in the flock...which was packed very tightly.  None around the outside anyway where they normally are.  Viewing conditions not good with 5/5 cloud...and incipient thunderstorm which of course missed us.  I did watch flocks coming in high over Bribie and saw them going N-S, S-N, N-S, S-N, N-S low along the Passage, until they finally went and landed with the other terns on SBN4...I would like to take my kayak out, which I had intended to do today...but visitors...from Brisbane .......... didn't leave till 1700.  Peter came involved...and Miki (need I say more) for niggling "are we going home yet?" and "we'll miss the SBS news" (which we did) but I just kept saying this is fascinating. "

It's no coincidence that mackerel were first reported off Caloundra on Friday. They herd the baitfish to the surface, where they become available to the terns. You need the combination of  offshore baitfish, predator fish and sheltered estuary. Then the terns come.



Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

26° 51' 41"S	152° 56' 00"E

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