Surprise and Delight

With a daily maximum passenger limit of 35 passengers, come experience 5 star service with Seastar Cruises

Book Online Now

Bird Watching


Red-footed Booby


Eastern Reef Egret


Sooty Tern


Reef Heron


Bridled Tern


Tern


Masked Booby

Seastar Cruises began operating to Michaelmas and the Great Barrier Reef in 1956.

During this time the 4 boats that have sailed under the name Seastar have all enjoyed a first-rate reputation with ornithologists worldwide.

Michaelmas Cay a large, stable coral sand island, having a grassy area over 200 metres long permanently out of the water and able to withstand cyclones (hurricanes) and very strong winds with rough seas it is little wonder why it is such a popular nesting and breeding location.

Over the years, up to 38 species of birds have been recorded on Michaelmas Cay, being 3 woodland and 35 seabirds.

The most commonly viewed species are:

Species Numbers Where Observed
Greater Frigatebird < 20 High in the sky or sitting on driftwood on the cay
Lesser Frigatebird < 20 High in the sky or sitting on driftwood on the cay
Silver Gull < 100 Stalking chicks on the beach or staying by boats
Common Noddy 1000's On the beach and flying low over water
Black Noddy <100 On the beach amongst Common Noddies
Brown Booby 50-200 On the beach and flying at sea
Sooty Tern 1000's On the beach and flying over water
Black –naped tern < 100 Near peak of cay and on Glass Bottom Boat
Ruddy Turnstone < 20 Near water’s edge on beach
Little Tern < 50 At end of island and on Glass Bottom Boat
Crested Tern 1000's On the beach and flying over water
Lesser Crested Tern 1000's On the beach and flying over water
Bridled Tern 100's On marker floats and flying over water
Gull-billed Tern < 20 Flying at sea
Caspian Tern < 50 On opposite side of island

Occasionally Viewed:

Species Numbers Where Observed
White-tailed Tropicbird < 3 Flying high over cay
Roseate Tern < 20 On opposite side of island
Masked Booby < 5 On the beach near grass or on Glass Bottom Boat
Red-footed Booby < 10 On end of island or on surface vessels off cay
Long-tailed Jaeger 1 Flying over cay
Curlew Sandpiper < 5 On opposite side of island
Reef Heron 1 On beach near grass line
Reef Egret 1 On beach near grass line
Southern Giant Petrel 1 Swimming at the back of Seastar
Pomarine Jaeger 1 Swooping down and attacking terns on island
Shearwater < 3 Flying over water

Those observed on the opposite side were viewed from the Seastar tender on a special circumnavigation of the island and those on the Glass Bottom Boat at Hastings Reef were noticed resting there when the Seastar arrived.

The cay is a major nesting island. Most commonly the breeding species observed are sooty terns, crested terns, lesser crested terns and common noddies. Occasionally silver gulls, ruddy turnstones, bridled terns, black-naped terns and roseate terns nest, while recently brown boobies have also been observed nesting. Nesting occurs all through the year with the sooty terns breeding every 8½ months and the others annually.

Island grasses consist of hairy spinifex, sea purslane and stalky grass.