[Tweeters] RE: Caspian Tern arrival times

Gary Smith gsmith at smithandstark.com
Tue Jun 9 16:40:59 PDT 2009

Yes, Gene, that's about it. In the mid to late 90's I noted CATEs as late
as September 15, but mostly just into late August. In the last six years,
the "last bird" has generally been mid-September. I think that noticing the
last bird is much less certain the noticing the first one. When you're used
to them, it takes you a while to realize they are absent consistently
instead of temporarily. So all those "last" dates might well be a little
later. I do think they are more abundant, or at least more consistently
present, in mid-to-late summer now than they used to be.


Gary T. Smith

Smith & Stark

From: Eugene and Nancy Hunn [mailto:enhunn323 at comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 3:16 PM
To: gsmith at smithandstark.com; 'David Hutchinson'; tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: RE: Caspian Tern arrival times


Interesting. Looks to me that through 1998 we got summer stragglers but that
since 1999 arrivals have been quite consistently mid-April =/- two weeks.


From: Gary Smith [mailto:gsmith at smithandstark.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 11:20 AM
To: 'David Hutchinson'; tweeters at u.washington.edu; enhunn323 at comcast.net
Subject: RE: Caspian Tern arrival times

David, I looked back over my records of the first dates we've seen Caspian
Terns around Alki Point, dating back to 1993. Of course this data is from
just one "micro site" and just one observer, but it supports what you're
saying. This would be more dramatic in a chart, but you'll get the idea - a
pretty clear trend from late summer to the spring:

1993 Jul 31

1994 Jul 1

1995 Jun 9

1996 Jun 20

1997 Jun 12

1998 May 25

1999 Apr 17

2000 Apr 15

2001 Apr 28

2002 Mar 23

2003 Apr 3

2004 Apr 24

2005 Apr 28

2006 Apr 23

2007 Apr 15

2008 Apr 14

2009 Apr 23

Gary T. Smith

Alki Point

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of David
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 10:58 AM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu; enhunn323 at comcast.net
Subject: [Tweeters] (no subject)

Caspian Terns are a regular breeder in large numbers on spoil beds in the
Columbia River and in lesser numbers in Eastern Washington, in the Potholes
and a few other sites. There has apparently been considerable disruption to
the Columbia Tern Colonies recently as they feed on young
salmon.Traditionally, I believe, Caspian Terns have been a mid or late
summer visitor around Puget Sound. So I was quite struck by seeing a Caspian
Tern on the beach at West Point on what seemed the very early date of April
8,2009. A survey of Tweeters reports for the last few years shows that the
terns have arrived in small numbers in late April, being apparent at
Everett, Bellingham and Bremerton. However, this May both Brian Meilleur and
I have often seen the terns with fish in their bills heading south across
Elliott Bay. Ruth Taylor saw 150-200 Caspians at Harbor Island 05/06/09,
while Don McVay reported 40-50 Caspians on mud-flats at Smith Cove in
Magnolia 05/11/09, though they were not breeding. A few were reported on a
roof near Pier 91. In conversation, Penny Rose, one of the naturalists at
Discovery Park, told me that she had seen, a couple of years ago, perhaps
over 100 Caspian Terns nesting on a roof near Harbor Island under the old
bridge to West Seattle, together with Glaucous-winged Gulls. Thus they have
been a breeding species in Seattle for perhaps several years and it seems
probable that they will continue to be an opportunistic breeder, perhaps
with their numbers and the number of sites that they use continuing to grow.
David Hutchinson, Owner
Flora & Fauna: Nature Books
Discovery Gardens: Native Plants
3212 W.Government Way


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