RFI Fairy Terns in NSW

To: Tim Dolby <>, Nikolas Haass <>
Subject: RFI Fairy Terns in NSW
From: Tun Pin Ong <>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 06:42:31 -0700 (PDT)
Looks like there are not many records of Fairy Terns, especially in NSW. Excuse 
me for taking this opportunity to ask for opinions to solve my mystery for 3 

On 03 Feb 2007(3 years ago), about the time where a Fairy Tern was reported at 
Penrhyn Estuary, Sydney hanging out with breeding Little Terns. (Refer to Tim's 
note below), I also photographed a tern which looked like a Fairy Tern to me. 
One thing I was surprised that I observed it joining other young Little Terns 
in begging food from returning parent Little Terns. The bird was clearly a 
fully grown adult tern. Unfortunately this not-so-good photo was the only one I 
took of the bird.

Penrhyn Estuary used to be a great place for birdwatching. I hope the condition 
will become better for birds eventhough accessibility is not easy nowadays.

Best Regards,
TunPin Ong
St Leonards

--- On Wed, 24/3/10, Nikolas Haass <> wrote:

> From: Nikolas Haass <>
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] RFI Fairy Terns  near Ulladulla?
> Received: Wednesday, 24 March, 2010, 11:56 AM
> Thanks, Tim! That is very useful.
> Cheers,
> Nikolas
>  ----------------
> Nikolas Haass
> Sydney, NSW
> ________________________________
> From: Tim Dolby <>
> To: Tim Dolby <>;
> ;
> ;
> ;
> Sent: Tue, March 23, 2010 3:29:30 PM
> Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] RFI Fairy Terns  near
> Ulladulla?
> RE: [Birding-Aus] RFI Fairy Terns  near Ulladulla?
> Hi Nikolas,
> FYI (and for my own records, it's been useful) here's a bit
> of a rundown of Fairy Tern in NSW - and elsewhere - over the
> last few years. In NSW they've recently been recorded at:
> . Penrhyn Estuary, Botany Bay - 1 Fairy Tern hanging out
> with Little Tern, 29/12/2006 to 7/01/2007 (Darryl McKay,
> Graham Buchan, Edwin Vella, David Mitford, Stuart
> Pickering.
> . Lake Conjola Nature Reserve - pair of Fairy Tern nesting
> with Little Tern,    26/12/2006 (Birding-aus), and
> have bred there regularly since.
> . Tuross Heads sand spit, 6 Fairy Tern resting on the sand
> near Little Tern nesting colony, 22/01/2009 (Harvey
> Perkins).
> . Bermagui 30-31/12/2005 (Bruce Wedderburn).
> . I've personally seen 10+, with some birds nesting at
> Mogareeka Inlet at the mouth of the Bega River, Tathra near
> the Little Tern colony, 27/12/2007 to 24/01/2008 (Tim
> Dolby)
> . 35 Fairy Terns were recorded at Mogareeka Inlet,
> 2/11/2008 (per Michael Jarman). This is the highest number
> reported for NSW.
> Further south in Mallacoota in sunny Victoria they are now
> regularly recorded:
> . Bastion Point, Mallacoota (6/11/2008, Nicole Spillane
> & Paul Jacobson)
> . Mallacoota Inlet, particularly at the mouth of the river
> i.e. 3 birds 7/02/2008 (Alan Morris), 4 birds 8/01/2008 (Tim
> Dolby), 4 birds 6/11/2006 (Fiona Parkin & Jon Thornton).
> Of interest the first record I can find for Mallacoota is
> 20/12/1931 (John Gray).
> In Australian S.n. nereis have been uplisted to vulnerable,
> numbering around 5,000 birds. Elsewhere in Australia, WA is
> a relative strong hold (1,600 pairs), while Tas and SA have
> a few hundred pairs. In Vic there are a few scattered
> fluctuating breeding sites. For example in December 2005 I
> found an active colony at Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve
> (they'd not breed there for nearly 20 yrs). Perhaps the best
> place in Victoria to see them is the Western Treatment Plant
> such as the Spit, or somewhere like Lake Tyers near Lake
> Entrance, Reef Island in Westernport Bay or Mud Islands in
> Port Phillip.
> In New Caledonian Sterna nereis exsul is rare, numbering
> 100-200 pairs, with numbers dropping drastically. In New
> Zealand S.n. davisae (also known as Tara-iti) is on the
> brink of extinction! Estimated population is only 36
> individuals, including only 10 breeding pairs. It is
> probably New Zealand's rarest breeding bird.
> Of interest 5 Fairy Tern were seen on East Diamond Islet in
> Australia's Coral Sea Territories, 13/12/2006 (Mike Carter).
> A newly fledged juvenile indicated that they'd bred locally.
> Mike suggested that it was similar morphologically to the
> New Caledonian subspecies Sterna nereis exsul, rather than
> S.n. nereis (Aust) or S.n. davisae (NZ). 2 Fairy Tern found
> in 1950 on Heron Island in Queensland are thought to be
> exsul.
> Hope this is of some help.
> Cheers,
> Tim Dolby

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