Monday 25th July comments: To continue with the success of the Terns this season, we now can add Sandwich Tern to the list of breeding birds this year. It is the first time that Sandwich Tern have bred on the May since 2008, when 2 pairs bred. This year 21 pairs have nested on the new terraces up at the Beacon. Each pair has laid just one egg and they have only just started to hatch in the last couple of weeks, which is quite a late for the Terns. It is possible that these birds maybe have had a failed breeding attempt elsewhere and are now having another go here, which may explain the fact that they are all single clutches. Hopefully they will be successful in raising these young and come back to breed next year.
Since the early 1980’s there have only been 8 previous years in which Sandwich Tern have bred, with the maximum count back in 2001 when 305 pairs nested on the island. So fingers crossed we get these numbers again in the future.
Sandwich Terns travel south once leaving breeding grounds like the other species of terns but don’t head quite as far as the Arctics. They spend the winter off the west coast of Africa and can often be seen in Senegal and The Gambia. To find out exactly where these terns are travelling we are joining a ringing scheme, adding colour rings to the Sandwich tern chicks. The colour rings have a unique three digit code and are easily readable in the field. It is also used to determine a winter survival rate and to find out where these birds then go to breed as adults, hopefully back here on the May.