NPWS Field Officer Jeff Taylor installing little tern public information signs on the Bonville Creek sand island.
NPWS Field Officer Jeff Taylor installing little tern public information signs on the Bonville Creek sand island.

Seabirds re-tern to Sawtell

AFTER a year’s absence a large number of endangered little terns have again returned to Sawtell to raise their young over the coming summer.

The sequence of flood events this year has significantly degraded their traditional nesting site at the Bongil Spit so this time the birds have chosen to nest on a sand island in Bonville Creek, 500 metres upstream of the creek’s mouth.

The new site, just off Dolmans Point, is already home to 30 nesting pairs of little terns with many more birds expected to nest there over coming weeks.

National Parks & Wildlife Service ranger Martin Smith said the return of the birds is encouraging news for this critically endangered migratory seabird.

“Last season we thought the Sawtell colony had moved to the new site at Hearnes Lake, near Woolgoolga. But this year we have both breeding sites populated with little terns so it appears their numbers on the Coffs Coast are increasing”, Mr Smith said.

“The sand island the little terns have chosen to nest on is within Bongil Bongil National Park and dogs are strictly prohibited through the park.”