Seabird aggregations in Port Phillip Bay

Subject: Seabird aggregations in Port Phillip Bay
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 16:31:33 -0700
Further to my notes re the feeding frenzy of Gannets & Fluttering
Shearwaters inshore off Port Arlington on 27 August and the at least 60
White-fronted Terns at Mornington seen during a brief visit on 2 September,
I now wish to record more details of the Mornington aggregation. I returned
in the morning of the next day, 3 September to do some photography, a more
thorough count and wider exploration. Fish eating birds were having a feast.
>From Linley Pt. & Fisherman's Beach in the south, through Snapper Pt.,
Mornington Pier and Harbour, Mills Beach to Sunnyside Beach in the north, a
coastline distance of some 4.5 km to say 0.5 km offshore, (most feeding
birds were within 150 m of the shore), I recorded the following.
3 Pelicans, 120 Little Penguins (easily missed so there were probably more),
1 Short-tailed Shearwater (an exceptionally early date), 1,800 Gannets, 16
Little Pied Cormorants, 20 Pied Cormorants, 36 Little Black Cormorants, 20
Pacific Gulls, 350 Silver Gulls, 500 Crested Terns and 120 WHITE-FRONTED
This is by far the largest number of White-fronted Terns I've ever seen in
the Bay and probably the largest aggregation ever in the Bay. Similar
numbers have been seen on Victorian ocean beaches and much larger numbers
(up to 1,000) on the NSW coast (HANZAB).
One interesting aspect was that among the 50 or so White-fronted Terns that
I saw well, none were adults! They were all 1st or 2nd year birds.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza    VIC     3930
Ph:  (03) 9787 7136

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