Terns on time this year – 18 April 2014 by Chris Cockburn


Hello folks

Following a report yesterday from Wez Smith (RSPB Site Manager Langstone & Chichester Harbours) of 22 little terns in Langstone Harbour, some were seen today. Encouragingly, there were at least 7 little terns and a similar number of (displaying) common terns plus two Sandwich terns roosting on the north spit at Stoke Bay during the rising tide – unfortunately, they were disturbed by kayakers and moved elsewhere.

Noisy visitations by Sandwich terns (up to six birds, sometimes) have been a daily occurrence over the Oysterbeds’ lagoon at high tide for several weeks now and, hopefully, some will nest on the lagoon’s islands this year.

More and more black-headed gull nests are appearing on the two lagoon islands; but the presently surging spring tides have flooded out many and most of the owners of those riskily-sited nests have rebuilt on the same spot – they will either learn to nest higher or join the relatively large percentage of animals that are repeatedly unsuccessful in breeding.

As usual, there are some black-headed gull pairs that have decided to hold territories on the footpaths etc and one pair (the “39ers” – named after the bus service that never stops at the site’s bus shelter) would like to nest on the roof:


There are fewer Mediterranean gulls to be seen compared to earlier weeks – many are presumed to be considering nesting on South Binness Island as in previous years; they do generally nest later than the black-headed gulls so it will be some time before we know if any are going to nest at the Oysterbeds.

Within the Stoke Bay roost mentioned earlier, there had also been four summer plumage dunlins, one ringed plover and one moulting bar-tailed godwit. A visitor today reported four whimbrels roosting on their favoured bund (NE of the lagoon).

Butterflies and other insects are becoming more abundant but they seem to have greatly improved their skills at avoiding being photographed.


Chris C


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