We are pleased to announce that since launching the programme in September we have had a total of 10 trackers sponsored which will go a long way to getting the project off the ground. Along with grant funding from The Seabird Group and the Merseyside Ringing Group we are hopeful of getting plenty more birds tracked next year!
In a flurry of other news, we received some information back on a Gronant colour-ringed bird - a 2-year-old, XLB, was seen at Hayling Island on 30/07. A rare case of one of our birds being spotted elsewhere. Interestingly it wasn't seen at Gronant this summer so may have bred on the south coast...
Tony Waller, the group's meetings secretary, gave a talk to the Colwyn Bay rotary club on 19/11 about the Little Terns at Gronant and the efforts to support them. It was good to tell a new audience about the work done to protect the terns.
A talk on the evening of 22/11 at Prestatyn Cricket Club resulted in £100 of donations to the group which we are very grateful for. It was a well-attended talk given by a Professor at Bangor University called Tom Rippeth and was on the topic of climate change which is of particular interest to us at the Little Tern Group as rises in sea level and more frequent storms threaten the safety of the nesting birds.
Finally, there was a national conference held in Norwich a few weeks back to mark the end of the EU LIFE+ project which has given so much assistance to colonies around the UK, including the Gronant colony, managed by Denbighshire Countryside Services (DCS). Little Tern stalwart, Adrian Hibbert, delivered a fantastic speech about the successes achieved at Gronant over the last 5 years which have included becoming the largest colony in the UK in 2017 and the launch and rapid growth of North Wales Little Tern Group. It is with sadness that Adrian has moved on from DCS but will remain chairman of the group and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
A novel opportunity has arisen for supporters of Little Terns to be part of a ground-breaking study to track the bird's migration down to Africa and back. The technology has recently become miniaturised enough to apply trackers to the legs of the terns. The trackers now weigh less than a gram!
We are raising funds to support the purchase of more tracking devices and thereby increase the amount that is learnt about where the birds go when not in the UK through a sponsorship programme. This project is in association with the Merseyside Ringing Group (who will take the lead in attaching the devices), Denbighshire Countryside Services and the Seabird Group.
A bit of background for why we are doing this - The birds are only in the UK for 4 months of the year, where they are well protected. Outside of this time no one really knows what threats they face, so learning where they go is the first and most important step to finding more about the issues they face when away from the UK.
This will be the first time tracking of Little Terns has been conducted in Western Europe. For £100 you can sponsor a tag and get information back when it is found and also the right to name the bird in question. Should your bird not return you will be offered a full set of information from another bird. For £50 you can part sponsor a bird and receive the same information on your bird but only be able to part name the bird (it will have a double-barrelled name!).
For further information please download the file below and register your interest at the e-mail address provided in the file.