The Little Tern numbers at Beacon Lagoons reached a season peak in mid-July, with 102 counted on 13th but typically 80-90 birds are seen regularly at the colony.
Throughout June and into July more and more terns settled down to nest and during our first colony walkthrough of the season on the 29th June, we counted 38 Little Tern nests, containing a total of 77 eggs. It is always interesting to assess the ratio of three-egg clutches as this is often an indication of a birds physical condition. Due to the cold and wet early half of the season it is perhaps not too surprising that out of 38 nests, only six contained three eggs. Suggesting the weather during April and May did effect the Little Terns and may suggest why we saw a delayed start to the nesting season this year. Fortunately, the season is almost back on track with the appearance of the first Little Tern chicks on the 3rd July, just over a week later than last year. Using equipment trialed at the Gronant Little Tern colony in North Wales we managed to trap and ring an adult Little Tern on its nest on the 2nd July. Interestingly this bird already had a metal ring. It was fitted with a yellow darvic and the details of the metal ring sent off. Information received back showed that the bird was ringed as a pullus at Winterton, Norfolk in 2013, making it eight years old. Little Terns typically start breeding in their third year so this bird is possibly in its 5th breeding year, let's hope it has a successful season.
Elsewhere around the colony, Ringed Plover chicks are growing well including two seen flying on the 14th and so far six Ringed Plover chicks have been ringed. Several new nests have been found during the colony walkthroughs in recent weeks taking the total number of nests around Beacon Lagoons to 18. We have also had three Oystercatchers clutches hatch this season. One pair has three chicks, and two pairs have a single chick each.
Once again, we would politely remind all birders who wish to view the Little Tern colony to do so
from Long Bank - running between Beacon Ponds and Kilnsea Wetlands. In addition, signage on the beach at Beacon lagoons will indicate areas beach goers must keep away from.
2021 Head Little Tern Warden
Posted: 18 July 2021
Thanks to all the many photographers who allow us to use their images on this site, in particular Dave McAleavey, Martin Standley, Mike Watson, Richard Willison.