With reference to postings on this subject some weeks ago,
having spent some time in the last five weeks traversing Port Phillip Bay with
Simon Mustoe and Danny Rogers, I feel fairly confident in reporting on the
status of terns (and some other notables) in all but the southern portion of the
Bay. We haven’t yet done any surveys south of the line from Mt. Eliza to St.
Well distributed from Williamstown (near Melbourne CBD) south along the
western shore through Altona, Point Cook, Werribee South and the northern shore
of Corio Bay (the area that includes Pt. Kirk at the Western Treatment Plant).
Congregations of around 40 observed at two sites with the total exceeding
Whiskered Tern: Similar distribution to the above and
although more abundant, concentrated more inshore.
Crested & Caspian Terns are the only other species
encountered but in very low numbers.
Little Tern: We haven’t seen any but John Newman
reports that on 21 December 2003, he found a pair nesting on Sand Island,
Queenscliff in the southern part of the Bay. A single pair has bred at this site
or nearby, perhaps annually since 1998, (see Australian Bird Watcher
Arctic Jaeger: A total of at least 20, always singly
and usually well offshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: Present at some Gannet colonies
in Corio Bay, and surprisingly, also in the far north of Port Phillip proper
where 3 were roosting with 14 Pied Cormorants on a hazard marker known as Dumb
Joe off Pt. Cook.
Banded Stilt: On 2nd January, one sitting on the sea
midway between Mt. Eliza on the
Mornington Peninsula and St. Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula! That is
some 20 km offshore! Although apparently tired and reluctant to fly, it seemed
quite at home, swimming very buoyantly.