The IBA is a small sand spit located at the mouth of the Prosser River, near the township of Orford, in south-east Tasmania. The spit is one of a few sites in Tasmania which annually supports a breeding colony of the vulnerable Fairy Tern. The spit also supports breeding populations of Hooded and Red-capped Plover, and Pied Oystercatcher. Flocks of 50 Red-necked Stint are present during summer months. The size and shape of the spit vary depending on tides, but the spit has grown progressively larger in recent years because of low rainfall and associated low outflow from the Prosser River. The habitat at the spit is mostly bare sand, but marram grass has begun to grow in recent years. Most of the land captured by the IBA is located 1 m or less above the high water mark and is subject to overtopping by seawater during winter storms. North and south of the IBA are narrow sandy beaches, which are highly disturbed by people and dogs, and which support low numbers of breeding shorebirds. The IBA is located in a region that experiences a temperate maritime climate with warm summers and cool winters.
Other species recorded in the IBA include 5-6 pairs of Hooded Plover, 10 pairs of Red-capped Plover, 5-7 pairs of Pied Oystercatcher and up to 50 Red-necked Stints (E. Woehler and B. Arthur pers. comm. 2009). Double-banded Plovers are also recorded here (P. Park pers. comm. 2009).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Continue to protect the Fairy Tern colony during periods of peak recreational activity through the erection of fencing. Explore the need for additional or stronger means to exclude pedestrian traffic from the colony site.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Each summer a fence is erected around the Fairy Tern colony by staff from the Parks and Wildlife Service to exclude pedestrian traffic. The position of the fence is altered from year to year to accommodate changes in the size and shape of the spit and in the distribution of Fairy Tern nests. A study of the breeding ecology of Red-capped Plovers was undertaken at the site in 2008/09 by an Honours Degree student from the School of Zoology at the University of Tasmania (E. Woehler pers. comm. 2009).
IBA is part of Raspins Beach Conservation Area.
Owned by the Tasmanian State Government and managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service.
Eric Woehler, Priscilla Park and Ben Arthur provided the information for this IBA.