Terns (& other birds) in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria

Subject: Terns (& other birds) in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 03:02:14 -0000


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. Leonards.

Common Tern: 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 100.

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 17: 346-348.

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.

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