Tern Troubles

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Arctic Terns’ scrape and egg transferred to a box to avoid being washed away

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Adult sat back on its’ ‘new’ nest

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Hopefully the egg will hatch and grow to be like these two chicks

Wednesday 28th June comments: Over the last couple of days we have experienced spring tides with the high tide reaching 5.6m. This has caused some problems for the some of our Arctic Terns; some have nested fairly low down on the beaches at Kirkhaven and would have been washed away by these high tides.  Fortunately we have managed to save several nests from their demise by raising them on plastic boxes and moving them further up the beach. 

Many tern nests are shallow scrapes with small unique features that they recognise as their own; for example shells or pieces of grass and seaweed. So when moving the nests we make sure we recreate the scrape as it was so the adults recognise their nest and eggs.  We fill the box with pebbles and sand and scoop the scrape up and place it as it was onto of the box and sit back and wait for the adults to return.

Some take to it very quickly, sitting back on the eggs incubating with 10 minutes.  Others take a bit longer, walking around inspecting the new high rise but luckily they eventually get the idea and sit back on.

 Having spent the winter off the Antarctic pack ice, these birds travel the length of the earth to come and nest here, so any helping hand we can give them, we do!

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