Looking after Tea Gardens' summer visitors

Published on 15 November 2017

Spot-the-Little-Tern-nest-credit-Neil-Fraser-web.jpg

Our summer visitors are easy-going, fun-loving types who are here to relax, but one special group of international visitors needs VIP care from Tea Gardens locals to keep them coming back.

MidCoast Council is calling on Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens residents and visitors to help protect the nests of the rare Little Terns who have made the Winda Woppa sand stockpile their summer home since 2015.

They're very difficult to see. Can you spot the egg / nest in the photo above? (Photo credit - Neil Fraser.)

"This site is turning into a popular nesting location for these birds who are returning from their annual migration to Southeast Asia" says Council's Catchment Officer, Drew Morris.

Last summer residents and visitors made a concerted effort to avoid trampling the nests and kept their dogs away from the sand stockpile, with great results - local birdwatcher Neil Fraser documented 28 fledglings being raised. "This is a great result which really relies on beach goers and dog walkers being careful and vigilant" says Drew.

With the Little Terns already sighted around the area this year, Council has worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to place temporary fencing on the beach near the stockpile, along with signs to request that people (and their dogs) keep their distance from the birds.

Volunteers will continue to keep an eye on these birds over the course of their nesting so see how successful they are over summer.

Neil says "It looks like the birds have started to return with four nests appearing over the weekend. I'm hoping that the numbers of fledglings will increase this year, especially with a community effort to protect the nests".

"We greatly value the work of Neil and other volunteers" adds Drew. "They've come across other surprising finds, with the first successful nesting of a Pied Oyster Catcher in Port Stephens recently recorded on Winda Woppa."