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5th March 07 - Bumper Breeding Season for Little Terns at Port Botany

PRESS RELEASE  5th March 2007:  Botany Bay and Catchment Alliance

Bumper Breeding Season for Little Terns at Port Botany

One of the State's rarest birds, the Little Tern, has enjoyed a bumper breeding season at Port Botany this year.  Sydney’s  Little Tern expert, Darryl McKay, banded 19 chicks and recorded 9 fledglings.  “This was an outstanding result for the colony,” said Mr McKay.

"We are very pleased that this threatened bird is doing so well at Port Botany and this is in large part due to the dedication of some wonderful volunteers, and strong support from National Parks and the local community," said Ms Lynda Newnam, Chairperson of the Botany Bay and Catchment Alliance.

The nesting site is at the entrance to Penrhyn Estuary, at Port Botany, and was fenced by NPWS and monitored by bird-watchers from around Sydney as well as the local community.  “It is wonderful to have these beautiful, rare birds breeding so successfully in Botany”, said local environmentalist, Mrs Nancy Hillier. “The walkers, fishers and boating people who use this area responded very positively when asked to keep clear of the nesting area. There is great pride in having the Little Terns here.”

"The eggs and chicks can be taken by predators such as foxes.  Their nests are nearly invisible scrapes on the sand, often near the high water mark, so they are also vulnerable to storms and flooding, and vandals but the proximity to such a high security area as Port Botany brings with it protection that could not be afforded in most other areas”, Mrs Hillier added.

This breeding season will be the last for the Little Terns in this special place, because soon the nesting site will be covered with shipping containers, not eggs. “Sydney needs the Little Terns and the recreation area rather than more containers and congestion”, said Ms Newnam.

Further information:   Lynda Newnam, Botany Bay and Catchment Alliance

                                    www.botanybay.info

                                    chairperson@botanybay.info

                                    tel:  0409698321

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