HomeCouncilDr Mays Island closed to public

Dr Mays Island closed to public

Dr May's Island
Dr May's Island is now closed to protect nesting and migratory shorebirds.

Elliott Heads visitors and residents are reminded that Dr Mays Island is now partially closed to protect nesting and migratory shorebirds.

The enforced closure period runs between September 1 and April 30 and covers areas of the beach island.

The sand island, also known as Rock Island, is located at the mouth of the Elliott River and is used by migratory birds for nesting and roosting.

Council's parks and gardens portfolio spokesperson, Cr Wayne Honor, said the closure occurs every year to protect the rare shorebirds which visit from Siberia and Alaska.

“Forty-two species of migratory shorebird visit our shores from September through to April each year to roost and feed,” Cr Honor said.

“These birds fly extraordinary distances between their breeding grounds in northern China, Siberia and Alaska to our shores along routes called flyways.”

Cr Honor said the shorebirds such as the Red Capped Dotterell had a long journey home and that it was vital that people obey the signs.

“The birds often arrive on our shores in poor condition and are extremely vulnerable to disturbance and predation,” Cr Honor said.

“They must eat up to one-third of their body weight every day to fuel their active lifestyle, as well as build up fat reserves for their long return migration northwards.

“It is critical they remain undisturbed to build energy reserves for their return flight.”

Signs around Elliott Heads remind visitors of the closure.

Cr Honor said these signs were strategically placed and were hard to miss.

“There is no reason or excuse to be going onto the island between these months as there are very clear signs that communicate why Dr Mays Island is off limits,” he said.

In 2015, Council recognised the value of Dr Mays Island to shorebirds with the introduction of a local law. 

Visitors are required to remain outside of the designated shorebird area and anyone found with their dog off leash is liable for an $266 infringement notice. There are also infringements for those that walk onto the island.

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