Tern Fledglings

Tern Photo

Our first Arctic Tern Fledgling

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Arctic tern numbers are up 58%.

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Adult and young Arctic Tern

Monday 10th July comments: It has been another great year for our Terns; both Arctic and Common Terns have increased in number. These incredible birds signal the start of the summer when they arrive, their noise and energy providing a brilliant atmosphere on a visit to the May.

The Arctic Terns have increased to 832 pairs, an incredible 58% increase from last year’s count and the highest count since 2001.  Although the numbers are high, they have suffered with the weather and a lot of the young have succumbed to the recent heavy rain.  Currently the chicks are getting bigger and we have had our first chick flying. It won’t be long before they are all fledging and getting ready for their epic journey to the Antarctic. These birds spend the winter finding food off the Antarctic pack ice and potentially see more daylight than any other creature, seeing summer in both hemispheres.

Common Terns have similarly had the same story with an increase of 53%, to 29 breeding pairs.  Although this isn’t a high number it is a step in the right direction as only two years ago there was only 13 breeding pairs. These birds winter a little bit closer, heading to West Africa for the winter – still a fair journey.

We are now hoping these good numbers will bode well for future years and the Isle of May can continue to be a productive breeding colony.  Over the next week we will be revealing more population figures of our seabirds.

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