Thursday, October 28, 2010
Now is the time of migration for many of the birds that nest along out coast. The shearwater [Puffinus tenuirostris] (more common knownly as the mutton birds) flies in from as far north as the Siberia, the Aleutian Islands and even the Californian coast. Unfortunately this year something happened and the beaches at Venus Bay are littered by hundreds of dead bird. Stormy weather probably isn’t to blame as most bird appear to have only recently died, a period of mild weather and calm seas and light sea fog. Presumably they died of exhaustion from their trip unable to summon the strength to continue to their nesting sites.
In 1798, Mathew Flinders recorded watching an almost continuous line for several hours of shearwater leaving the waters of northern Tasmanian and heading across bass straight on the start of their migration north. He estimated that there were at least one hundred million birds within a single flock!