There was a yet another increase in breeding pairs of Little Terns at Gronant in 2012, to a record 125. However, due to a combination of bad weather, higher than expected tides and predation by kestrels and foxes these produced only 47 fledglings*, a much lower number than hoped for.
Disappointing though this total is it is not anything to be too concerned about as all Little Tern colonies have good years and bad years and Gronant is no exception as can be seen in the graph below.
In terms of the long-term health of the colony the most important line on the graph is the number of pairs and that has been growing ever since the colony was first wardened in 1975, a very pleasing statistic.
As I write this the 2013 breeding season is just starting and after two relatively poor years we hope we are due a good one, a season like 2010 would do nicely! One aspect which is crucial to the success of the colony is the presence of wardens. A shortage of wardens last year resulted in the colony being unmanned for 72 daylight hours in June and this no doubt contributed to the high predation levels.
So PLEASE - if you can spare a few hours as a Voluntary Warden you will be helping to continue the success of this Little Tern colony, the only one in Wales. It is also a great place to do some bird watching - see my Gronant Site Guide for more details. Also Click Here, this link includes some details of what is expected of the Wardens.
If you are interested in becoming a Voluntary Warden please ring 07920593506. You are free to just turn up and have a chat about what is involved before committing to anything. The season runs from late May to the end of July/early August.
The graph below is an interesting comparison of the Gronant colony with colonies elsewhere in the country in 2012. Being relatively sheltered from the bad weather East Anglia had a good breeding season with the largest colony in the country, Winterton Dunes, also being the most productive. Elsewhere things were not so good with the Cleveland colonies, for example, producing no fledglings in comparison with a good 2011 there.
* The fledgling total of 47 is an estimated maximum count. For various
reasons it was not possible to perform an accurate count of all the
fledglings in 2012 and the actual number may well have been lower than
Sources of Information:
1. Andrew Farrell and Wendy Williams, Little Tern Report Gronant 2012, Denbighshire County Council Countryside Services.
2. Table showing 2012 Breeding Success of selected Little Tern Colonies received from DCC Countryside Services with thanks.
Richard Smith (Gronant Voluntary Warden).Top of Page
24th June, 12.278hrs (BST), 9.5m.
25th June, 13.18hrs (BST), 9.6m.
26th June, 14.07hrs (BST), 9.5m.
Organised by the Wirral
Ranger Service , Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the
All these events and walks have bird interest, even those not advertised specifically for birdwatching. No need to book for these events unless specified - please check below.
Also see 2013 Events Diary.