Hats at the Ready

The Terns have landed

The Terns have landed

An aerial display with a sand eel

An aerial display with a sand eel

Our noisy neighbours are back! Over the last week we have had Arctic and Common Terns flying over and building up in number. In the last couple of days they have touched ground, displaying to prospective partners. They are brilliant birds to see, full of energy and grace.  Some have even been seen on the roof of the visitor centre again so hopefully they will use the ‘green roof’ again as a breeding site. Most people would complain at having so many noisy, smelly birds breeding on their roofs but on the May, we love it!

These Terns have travelled far and wide to return to the May (with the Arctic Terns spending the winter off the Antarctic pack ice), so it’s only fair that we try to provide good nesting habitat for them. This involves the creation of “Tern platforms” in areas where the vegetation is long, which provides good cover, we make small sandy areas for them to nest on and ensuring the chicks don’t get swamped by the long grass and nettles.  We expect the first eggs to be laid in the next week or two and that means only one thing: the start of the dive bombing. Whether it be a marauding gull, a passing Eider or a unsuspecting visitor; the adult Terns attack anything that is too close to their nest. They will stop at nothing to protect the eggs and chicks once they hatch and those nesting in the Arctic give the same treatment to Polar Bears. They really are feisty birds! So if you are visiting from the end of May onwards, be sure to bring a hat.

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