Return of the tern!

May is the month that sees the return of the Terns!

As well as the species that continue to return from foreign shores to nest in the UK there are also species that stop over to refuel before continuing their migration to their nesting grounds elsewhere, such as the Black Tern. Having already seen Arctic and Common Terns at Belvide reserve as they passed through in late April I also managed to catch up with some Black Terns that were feeding and resting up on the reservoir before they continued on their long journey.

A couple of weeks later we drove up to Gronant on the North Wales coast to visit the Little Tern colony, one of only very few still active in the UK. If you have never visited this conservation project I would urge you to go. The volunteers who have built the hides and the boardwalks, and put up the electric fences to protect the nesting birds from predators, have made a very impressive job of it, and deserve support and huge plaudits. And if you do visit pay £5 to become a Friend of Gronant Little Tern Project, it is worth every penny.

Also the walk to the hides through the marshes and wetlands is teeming with birds, Reed Warblers and Buntings, Sedge Warblers, Stonechats and many more. When you get to the hides on the edge of the dunes overlooking the colony the friendly volunteers give you a little background to the project, and point you in the direction of the smaller hide which is nearer the nesting site. From this you get amazing views of the Terns on their nests in the shingle as well as coming and going from the sea, and bringing in sandeels to feed to their partners sitting on eggs.

The nesting site is in a beautiful position on the shingle beach between the dunes and a fabulous sandy beach, and is a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours watching some lovely , elegant seabirds. It was well worth the drive, and another new species taking me to 189 for the year.