It seemed to take forever but the first Little Tern eggs were spotted on the 20th May (first egg date 19th). This is 4 days later than last year. The terns had been back a month and showing a lot of interest in the breeding pens. We think although the birds were ready to lay their eggs earlier, in the nice weather, they were waiting for the high spring tides to pass, very sensible of them! It's all go now and since the first nest was spotted we are already up to 20 active nests and many more to come. If you have not been down to see the terns yet this season now is a good time with so much activity to be seen.
After a week of finishing touches and getting the pens electrified we are now ready for Little Terns to start nesting. Numbers of terns peaked at 120 on the bank holiday Monday (11/05) but became harder to see after that as the weather had been a bit cold. With the warmer weather this coming week we are hoping they will start nesting. High tides could be an issue so we'll keep a close eye on that situation and may have some debris to clear from fencing on 16th-17th. The wardens will be on site to meet any volunteers and visitors from now on. There will be tasks such as predator watches, public engagement and monitoring to help with in the coming weeks so please come down.
The photo above shows the view from the new monitoring hide, access to which members of the North Wales Little Tern Group are allowed. The hide is situated adjacent to one of the breeding pens and will offer unrivaled views of the breeding Little Terns. There are already nesting Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers on view. If you are interested in using it please ask the warden on duty. N.B. it may not be possible to use the hide on occasions due to bad weather or if it needs to be used for other purposes.
Thanks to the combined efforts of over 30 people during the last week all the fencing for the breeding pens is now up and is already hosting occasional inspections from the Little Terns. This was no mean feat as the pickup delivering the equipment couldn't get that near to the site this year due to soft mud getting in the way, so there was lots of carrying of equipment just to get it on site. With the additional support from the RSPB, Presthaven ranger, NWWT and volunteers from Northop College we got more fencing up than ever, protecting as much high quality breeding habitat as possible. The coming week will see us electrify the pens to keep foxes (and people) out during the breeding season.
From a pile of 'stuff' in a trailer to fully installed pens for the breeding terns.
Little Tern numbers continue to grow with 60 seen on the tide line today (05/05). The earliest date for nesting on record was set last year, on the 15th. Could the nice weather this weekend see that record get beaten by over a week? Time will tell.