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The Little Tern
The "Little Tern" is an endangered bird species. The small
but very important colony of Little Terns which annually breeds at Nambucca Heads is in a particularly parlous condition.
A group of tiny sea birds flies from Eastern Asia to Nambucca Heads each summer in an exhausting journey of some 6,000 kms. The truly quite delightful Little Terns come to the large sand groin which comprises the southern headland at the entrance to Nambucca River. This is the area most local residents call South Beach.
The Little Terns begin arriving from October. They build their nests, hatch their young and stay on through into February before returning to their alternate habitat in Eastern Asia.
The size of the local colony has dramatically diminished during the last few seasons. Dogs, foxes, human intrusions and 4WD vehicles on the beach are the main reasons for this sad outcome.
The Little Terns, like many Australians, spend summer on the beach. This leads to them often getting a hard time from humans. Their nests are mere scrapes in the sand. Their eggs, usually laid in clutches of two or three, are rather well camouflaged and easily trodden upon by the unaware. Little Tern eggs are lightly speckled and only 30mm long. Once hatched the young are left alone during the day whilst the parents are out collecting food.
Drivers of 4WD and other beach vehicles are required to stay well clear of the nesting area.
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