Harbour Update – posted 05/04/17

Last year we worked with the Purbeck National Trust team to help convert two old fish traps into fully functional breeding Tern rafts. They’re currently Tern rafts, but not yet fully functional! Last year we just ‘missed the boat’ as the rafts weren’t ready in time for the 2016 Tern breeding season. However, they are now both out and in situ on Littlesea, Studland and we’re now waiting and hoping for birds to start using them this spring. Today, to aid this process we placed several decoy Common Tern out on the rafts to make it look like a colony was already underway. Whether this technique works is yet to be seen, but with the number of Mediterranean Gulls paired up on Brownsea at present it looks as if the Common Terns need to find a safe retreat as soon as possible. We kindly ask for any sightings of Terns on, over or around the rafts to be reported to us as any information on how birds are interacting with the new structures is really important. Don’t be fooled though, there is a decoy strategically placed on one of the corners, although its lack of movement should give away its lack of life! Bird wise today it was tough going with a high-pressure system with a light NW wind kept birds either high or at bay. The sun has however made the gorse smell and look incredible and also made the birds that are settled here very active indeed. Our long-staying ringtail Hen Harrier looks as is she could have waved us a fond farewell when at dawn she lifted out of the roost and headed off high north. There was also another Red Kite over Studland mid morning. Both Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were on Lytchett Fields with a nice addition of a White Wagtail and a Marsh Harrier. On the Brownsea Lagoon good numbers of Sandwich Tern are now settled on the breeding islands, looking hardy as they face up to the Med Gulls and there are still at least 8 Avocet on the lagoon. On the heaths Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Linnet are busy displaying

Dummy Common Terns on new Tern rafts – Littlesea, Studland


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