North Fremantle’s fairy tern colony thriving

Fairy turns are having a bumper breeding season at Rous Head.
Fairy turns are having a bumper breeding season at Rous Head.

NORTH Fremantle’s colony of rare fairy terns are having a bumper breeding season on a special sanctuary between Sandtrax Beach and the container port at Rous Head.

Fremantle Ports environmental adviser Adam van der Beeke said 162 nests with eggs or nestlings, and 70 walking chicks that were banded, were counted recently.

“Typically breeding sites have between 50 to 120 pairs of adults, so this is an excellent outcome for their conservation,” Mr van der Beeke said.

The total number of pairs this season has been estimated at 250, compared with about 90 in 2013-14.

The sanctuary was created with sand dredged from the port’s Inner Harbour deepening in 2010.

Mr van der Beeke said the birds made their nests by scraping a depression in the shelly sand, before laying one or two speckled eggs.

The sanctuary is fenced for the birds’ protection and to stop their chicks wandering on to a nearby path.

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