Aleutian Terns – A BARC Question


I had the pleasure of an hour or two with the Aleutian Terns at Old Bar yesterday. I was travelling from Sydney to Brisbane, and it was no difficulty to divert the dozen km off the highway.

The terns were remarkably settled and very tolerant of people. They only took to the air while I was there when some people were flying threatening shaped kites behind the Little Tern nesting area.

Normally when rarities are recorded in Australia, they either show up on the periphery, not an outrageous distance from their normal range, or as single birds. The reports from Old Bar [thousands of km from their known range] suggest there are a potentially a dozen individuals or more – potentially a flock?

My question is how often has BARC recorded a flock of a species not on the Australian list in the southern half of the mainland? Does this suggest a major shift in the distribution of Aleutian Terns or a gap in Australian records?

Regards, Laurie.

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