Seabird aggregations in Port Phillip Bay

To: <>
Subject: Seabird aggregations in Port Phillip Bay
From: "Dr Richard Nowotny" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 13:43:20 +1000

As a minor appendix to Mike’s very interesting report it is worth noting that Little Penguins have been seen in unusual numbers fishing and loafing on the surface right at the top of Port Phillip Bay recently (small rafts seen in Hobson’s Bay, between the piers at Port Melbourne), and Gannets have been patrolling close to the shoreline similarly high in the Bay (along Beaconsfield Parade at South Melbourne Beach).  However, I’ve not noticed any White-fronted Terns up this end of the Bay.     Richard



-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Mike Carter
Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 9:32 AM
Subject: Seabird aggregations in Port Phillip Bay



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


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