I've just been discussing these birds with Jeff Davies. The bird in flight is
also an Arctic Tern. It clearly has pale centres to the primaries, lacks the
dark wedge that one would expect on common, has a short bill and white gape
above the bill. It is also starting to moult from the centre of the
In terms of the recent reports, can I just clarify:
1. There is a report of 2 terns from Mordialloc on the 2 / 3 October (we don't
know which date, as they are reported from different dates, depending on which
page of Eremaea we look at).
2. There is a SEPARATE report of arctic terns from Portland. It was initially
unclear to me as the links provided by Rohan were to two different records.
I still need Arctic Tern and they can be a difficult bird in Aus. It seems odd
to be finding out about these birds possibly 5 days after the event, via a UK
birding forum. From a completely personal perspective, is there any way that we
can try to get records like this out to birders quickly? It would also be very
useful to try to ensure that birders accompany records with information
relevant to finding the bird. What we know about these Arctic Terns at present
is largely academic and though of some interest, it doesn't actually help
birders like me to find them.
In the case of any coastal bird like this, tide is always very useful. Was it
high or low? Time of day is good - were the birds seen am or pm? When was the
last sighting? Finally (and most importantly), where are they? Opposite what
street? Or maybe a lat and lon.
This is all meant to be as constructive as possible, whilst at the same time,
drawing our attention to some clear shortfalls in the way we currently present
information. If we raise the bar just a little and provide better information
we could make birding a lot more accessible and rewarding.
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