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Mud Islands Bird List

This list was kindly supplied by Peter Menkhorst.

You may also like to view the gallery of Peter's excellent bird photography taken on or around Mud Islands, and the Shore Birds Identification Guide PDF icon (Australian Government - Department of the Environment and Water Resources)

Bird Species Year of last record Number of records Comments
Brown Quail  2005 2 Two observations of small groups in Austral Hollyhock herbfield on Eastern Island.
Black Swan  2007 57 Numbers peak in late summer – up to 1000. One or two nests most years.
Australian Shelduck  2005 4 Rare – small numbers (up to 7) in lagoon on occasion.
Pacific Black Duck  1997 1 Very rare, 3 in June 1997. 
Australasian Shoveler  1997 1 One record only – 3 in February 1997.
Chestnut Teal  2005 28 Formerly regular, now rarely present. Up to 120 but usually 20-50. Numbers peaked in winter. 
Grey Teal  1991 1 One record only, 6 in July 1990 [may have missed others]
Hoary-headed Grebe  2006 17 Flocks regularly offshore in autumn and winter. Never in the lagoon.
Little Penguin  1999 9 One or two breeding attempts in some years, last breeding record 1999.
White-faced Storm-Petrel  2007 27 Breeds annually, Sept-Feb. Numbers have declined significantly since Silver Gulls and ibis colonies established. In 1979 population estimated at 5000-6000 active burrows, now perhaps 2000 but estimates extremely difficult. One of 3 Victorian breeding colonies.
Little Pied Cormorant  2007 58 Always numbers resting on sandbanks. Highest count 153.
Pied Cormorant  2007 51 Always present resting on sandbanks. Has bred in most, but not all, years since 1987 in Grey Saltbush shrubland on Eastern Point, up to 270 nests. One of only 2 Victorian breeding colonies
Little Black Cormorant  2006 29 Regularly resting on sandbanks, winter flocks of up to 1500. 
Great Cormorant  1998 14 Rare, small numbers (up to 8) rest on sandbanks. 

Australian Pelican
Photo 2 

2007 57 First recorded breeding in 1983. Now breeds almost continuously, up to 450 nests, colony sites shift frequently but largest colony on Centre Island near north entrance seems to be fairly permanent. One of 2 regular Victorian breeding colonies.
White-faced Heron  2007 48 Regularly present. Numbers highest in winter when up to 70 feeding in Sarcocornia saltmarsh.
Little Egret 2006 5 First recorded July 2003.
Nankeen Night Heron  1982 1 One sighting of 2 immatures, 1982.
Australian White Ibis  2007 33 Major breeding colony began in 1990, now perhaps 12 000 pairs breed making it one of the biggest colonies in Victoria.
Straw-necked Ibis
Photo 2
Photo 3
2006 23 Major breeding colony began in 1991, now estimated at 15 000 pairs – a major breeding colony in Victoria and the only breeding colony of this species in a marine environment.
Royal Spoonbill  2006 49 Regularly 18-28 birds in a single flock. Has begun breeding amongst ibis – at least 6 nests in Feb 2006.
Whistling Kite  2003 4 Singles overhead.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle  1989 1 One flew over, July 1989.
Swamp Harrier  2007 52 Always 1 to 4 present. Has bred on Boatswain island, may do so regularly.
Brown Goshawk  2001 2 One record, May 1984.
Brown Falcon  1999 2 Singles overhead on 2 occasions.
Australian Hobby  1984 1 One record, September 1984
Buff-banded Rail  2007 15 Resident, increasingly common – up to 7 seen feeding amongst beachcast seagrass, Feb 07. Nests in Austral Hollyhock shrubland.
Lewin's Rail  1984 1 One sighting only, 1984, but likely to be more frequently present.
Australian Crake 2003 2 Likely to be resident in saltmarsh
Spotless Crake 2006 1 One record only, Feb 2006
Black-tailed Godwit  2006 3 Rare. Small numbers sometimes mixed with Bar-tailed Godwits.
Bar-tailed Godwit 
Photo 2
2007 38 Regular summer migrant, up to 1000 birds in February, up to 250 often over-winter.
Whimbrel  1986 1 Rare and declining in Port Phillip, ones or twos during early 1980s, last record July 1986.
Eastern Curlew  2005 5 Regularly present in 1970s (up to 200), now rare and only in small groups.
Marsh Sandpiper  2006 5 Rare, small numbers (up to 13) in the lagoon.
Common Greenshank  2007 45 Regular in the lagoon – up to 40.
Grey-tailed Tattler
Photo 2
1988 7 Small numbers in summer, up to 8, but not recorded since June 1988.
Ruddy Turnstone  2007 49 Regular, frequently 30-50 feeding along outside shore and in the lagoon. Largest number counted 200.
Asian Dowitcher  1974 1 Vagrant – one record only in 1974 Christmas bird count [Mike Carter, D. Robinson, P. Menkhorst, A. Isles]
Great Knot  2007 28 Regularly up to 100 in summer, small numbers in winter, highest count 400.
Red Knot  2007 33 Regularly up to 600 in summer, less than 50 over-winter in most years.
Sanderling  2006 3 Rare, in ones or twos in the lagoon.
Red-necked Stint  2007 49 The most abundant shorebird at Mud Islands, up to 3000 present in summer
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper  2007 29 Present every spring-summer-autumn. Up to 400 in Sarcocornia saltmarsh and mudflats.
Curlew Sandpiper  2007 37 Regular summer migrant – up to 600 in summer and 80 over-winter.
Pied Oystercatcher  2007 58 Breeding resident, up to 6 pairs present, but not clear how many of these breed there.
Sooty Oystercatcher  2006 26 One bird was resident from 1983-1993. Was paired with a Pied Oystercatcher and successfully fledged hybrid chicks. Up to 3 present in early 1980s, only intermittent singles since December 1992.
Banded Stilt 2004 1 One record of 6, September 2005.
Pacific Golden Plover  2006 23 Regular summer migrant – highest count 180.
Grey Plover  2007 39 Regular summer migrant, usually 60-100 present in summer and often 10-20 over-winter. Highest count 350.
Red-capped Plover  2007 58 Resident breeder. Highest count 38.
Double-banded Plover  2007 15 Regular migrant, March-September, in small numbers (10-30), highest count 105.
Lesser Sand Plover  2007 19 Regular summer migrant. Counts have fallen from 20-40 in the 1980s to only ones or twos in the 2000s.
Greater Sand Plover  2004 5 Rare summer migrant – highest count 3.
Masked Lapwing  1991 12 Formerly regular in small numbers, up to 4. Not recorded since February 1991.
Arctic Jaeger  1998 5 Occasional sightings offshore.
Pacific Gull  2007 55 Small numbers present year round, mostly pre-breeders.
Silver Gull
Photo 2
2007 60 Abundant breeding species July-Feb. First recorded breeding in 1957, number of nests rose to perhaps 50 000 in 1980s, numbers have declined to perhaps 30 000 since ibis colonies established in 1990s. By far largest breeding colony in southern Australia.
Kelp Gull 
Photo 2
1983 1 One record, 2 sub-adults July 1984. Mike Carter.
Caspian Tern  2005 30 Small breeding colony of 15-25 pairs on Boatswain Island beach each Nov-Dec.
Crested Tern  2007 49 Breeds annually on Boatswain Island, numbers have increased dramatically following annual vegetation removal from colony site – 2500 nests. Second largest Victorian colony.
Common Tern  2001 10 Occasional visitor, largest number 10 in February 2001. [cf Garnett et al. 1986 who claim it is a regular roosting site and a flock of 260]
Little Tern  2006 13 Small numbers of non-breeding birds occasionally present. 
Fairy Tern
Photo 2
2007 37 Regularly 50-100 in non-breeding period. Formerly bred annually. Last breeding record 1997. 
Whiskered Tern 2005 1 One record, September 2005.
White-winged Black Tern  2001 1 One record, February 2001.
Rock Dove  1996 1 One record, single bird July 1996
Orange-bellied Parrot  1984 2 Large flocks recorded through the 1950s-1970s. Only 2 sightings of singles during my visits – 1983 and 1985, both in the Sclerostagia saltmarsh on Boatswain Island.
Blue-winged Parrot 2007 1 Single record of one adult female, 25 Feb 2007.
Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo  1992 1 Single record only, February 1992.
Barn Owl  1987 2 Single bird seen several times roosting on the ground on Eastern Island, 1986-87. Believed to be feeding on storm-petrels.
Willie Wagtail  2002 1 One record of a single bird, June 1997.
Skylark  1993 18 Formerly present on ‘the airstrip. Not present since Rabbits died out and airstrip became overgrown with shrubs. Last record July 1993.
Little Raven 1992 1 One record, July 1992
House Sparrow  2007 47 Small flock can usually be found in saltbush or hollyhock shrubland.
European Goldfinch  1983 2 Not recorded since 1983. 
European Greenfinch  1990 1 One record, 50 in February 1990.
Welcome Swallow  2007 43 Regular, 20-30 in summer, < 10 in winter.
Little Grassbird  2007 37 Resident in saltbush and saltmarsh.
Golden-headed Cisticola  2006 13 Now resident though not recorded before 1993.
Silvereye  2003 6 Uncommon visitor in small flocks
Common Starling  2001 29 Small flocks most winters, largest number 90.
European Rabbit  1991 8 No longer present. Tracks last recorded in 1991
House Cat 1994 1 One animal present for several years.
Australian Fur Seal  2002 1 Occasional observations in near-shore waters.
Leathery Turtle  1983 1 One beach-washed, donated to Museum Victoria.
Metallic Skink  1987 7 Are they still present?

 

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