• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Where have my terns gone? (1 Viewer)

Andrea Collins

Former member - no longer active
Supporter
England
Ok, they're not actually my terns, but some of them have gone missing.

There are two tern colonies close to where I live. One has Sandwich, Common and Little Terns. Although I haven't done any counts myself the colony appears to be doing ok with all three species having what appeared to be decent numbers of young on my most recent visit.

The other colony usually has Arctic, Common and Little Terns. Today was the first time I have visited since the lockdown restrictions were eased in England. There should have been much activity at the colony at this time of year but there was no sign of any breeding activity at all.

A few birds were flying over but that was it. The colony normally has a summer warden in residence and the nesting area is roped off but the local wildlife trust have been unable to employ a summer warden this year.

To be honest I half expected the worst but it was a bit depressing to find no activity at all. Some of the birds briefly moved to another local reserve but don't appear to have stayed. I haven't seen any Arctics at the colony that is doing ok so they don't appear to have gone there either.

Maybe this year will just be a write off for them. The cynic in me says that human disturbance is the culprit due to the lack of a warden but maybe there are other factors. Terns are very twitchy about staying in the same spot for many years. I really hope they return next year.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I understand that a couple of Peregrines took up residence Andrea. Some people have reported ringed Arctic Terns in Scotland and of course there could be sightings of the Skerries birds at other tern colonies (perhaps in Northumberland?) but until ringing data has been collected over the breeding season, I don’t think there will be a clear picture of where they are or how productive the season was. (I also understand that the lack of a warden was due to Covid)
 
Last edited:

Andrea Collins

Former member - no longer active
Supporter
England
Thanks for that Deb but it's not the Skerries. It's Foulney Island in the south west corner of Cumbria. Some of the birds moved to the neighbouring reserve on Walney Island but aren't there now. The colony that seems to be doing ok is RSPB Hodbarrow beside the River Duddon estuary. The lack of a warden at Foulney was indeed due to Covid. I find it rather sad that someone protecting a wildlife site is not considered a key worker.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I completely agree Andrea - wardens should be considered key workers. Sorry about the confusion. As you suggested in your opening post, although there is a significant degree of site faithfulness, it’s not unusual for tern colonies to move en masse in response to disturbance, predation, food shortage (sandeels) or simply unfavourable weather conditions. Hopefully ringing sightings will provide some good news.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top