Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caspian Terns prominent at 3 of the 'Top 100 Birding Sites of the World'

A neighbor dropped by with Dominic Couzen’s book "Top100 Birding Sites of the World" and I immediately flipped to the index to see where Caspian Terns might be noted.

The results are that Caspian Terns are noted at three of 100 locations and each is interesting in its own way.

p 65: Eliat, Israel - this area very likely is getting both migrants between northern Europe and Africa as well as hosting breeders from the Arabian Gulf. I don't know of any colonies in the Red Sea, but would not be surprised to learn of current or historical records of a small colony or two. Ranked as 25th best place in the world of birds.

p 127: Banc D'Arguin, Mauritania - the book suggests this region hosts the largest concentration of waterbirds in western Africa including 2,500 pairs of Caspian Terns, 1,000 pairs of Gull-billed Terns, and 5,000 pairs of Royal Terns. This region is one from which I have found regular posting of excellent Caspian Tern photos, but have yet to network to any active research or monitoring in the area. Ranked as 43rdbest place in the world of birds.

p 133: Gambia River, Gambia - the book recommended terns, including Caspians could be located in the saltwater tidal section of the river at Bintang Bolon (50 km from Banjul). This sounds like classical habitat for non-breeders to be hanging out and feeding on the small fish nurseries so common in mangrove and shallow water subtropical areas.Ranked as 50th best place in the world of birds.

The best place in the world to see Caspian Terns isobviously at the largest colony in the world and that is currently in the Columbia River Estuary of Oregon, USA. Although CRE is designated an Important Bird Area the closest places noted by Couzens were the Olympic Penninsula, WA and Monteray Bay, CA.

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