Terns and Bedfont Lakes
Terns in 2012
May saw the terns arrive back and by the 21st, 25 had made it safely from Africa. Unfortunately they are having to share their island with black headed gulls, geese and have two moorhen nests just off the shore. Hopefully these extra visitors will not get in the way of the terns nesting and raising their chicks.
The small "huts" will allow the Terns to hide their chicks from predators such as crows.
There are two pairs of Moorhens nesting close to Tern Island.
A tern having an early morning wash. You can see a ring on its leg, all the Terns are ringed so that they can be monitored to help with their conservation.
Terns in 2011
The seven pairs of terns all bred and there were between 16 - 20 chicks. The numbers are not as good as previous years, it is thought that the weather early in the season may have had an effect.
There is also a Little Ringed Plover on the island. These are recent arrivals only starting to breed in the UK in the late 1930's. Thier success has been due to the rise in the number of gravel pits and Tern Island provides a similar habitat with gravel, clear of any vegetation, freshwater and muddy margins.
The picture shows the Plover next to one of the shelters on the island, these have been constructed to provide cover for the young Terns from marauding Crows.
The common tern, also known as "sea swallow", due to their graceful flight, arrive in the UK in March/Aprl to breed, leaving in August or September. Though some travel from south central Europe others will come from as far away as western Africa. They like to nest on bare shingle with a little vegetation to provide protection to the chicks. They lay 2 or 3 eggs in a shallow scrap in the shingle and fly after about 22-28 days. In the first year of the Tern Island (2010) 55 chicks were successfully reared.
A Tern next to one of the shelters on the island.
The "sea swallow" in flight and fishing. Not great photographs but hopefully show how elegant these birds are.