Mud Islands are an exposed area of the Great Sands which is the most extensive sand bank in Port Phillip Bay. Located approximately 6km north
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Mud Islands are an exposed area of the Great Sands which is the most extensive sand bank in Port Phillip Bay. Located approximately 6km north east of Portsea, the islands are constantly changing shape due to storms and sand movement. The vegetation includes saltmarsh and dune shrubland, surrounded by dense seagrass beds and mud flats.
The habitats of Mud Islands are essential for the survival of many species. Within the sand lives a range of invertebrates including segmented worms and crabs. These are an important food source for many fish and birds. The seagrass beds and mud flats provide vital feeding, nursing and breeding areas for many species of fish, including King George Whiting. Oysters, mussels, scallops and fish reside in the sandy, soft bottom and many fish species rely on these animals for food. Many shark species use this area for basking and Bronze Whaler Sharks use the warm waters around the islands to give birth to their young.
Mud Islands are considered an area of international significance and as such, have been listed as a RAMSAR site. The fine sands and muddy sediments exposed between the tides provide excellent habitats for many birds, including endangered species and long distance migratory species. Some 70 species of birds have been recorded on the islands.
The microfauna of the sands and mud within this and other areas of the bay are important in maintaining water quality within the whole of the Bays waters. The denitrification processes occurring in the soft sediments within the bay are primarily responsible for removing nitrates from the water preventing massive algal blooms. Sediments also act as sinks for heavy metals and other toxic substances.
Mud Islands are a great spot for birdwatching due to the huge variety of seabird species present. Snorkelling around the islands and observing animals within the seagrass meadows is also an enjoyable past time.
This is a spectacular place to visit - a walk around the islands to take in the scenery is a must.