Gronant Beach’s famous Little Tern colony marks another successful breeding season
Gronant Beach once again witnessed a successful breeding season for its renowned Little Tern colony.
The site, the largest of its kind in Wales, contributes to over 10% of the UK’s entire breeding population of Little Terns, making it a significant location for bird enthusiasts and conservationists alike.
For nearly two decades, the Denbighshire Countryside Service, in collaboration with local volunteers, has been committed to the protection and management of the Little Terns at Gronant Dunes.
These birds, which migrate from Africa to breed at the dunes, arrive in May and depart by the end of August. Their nesting habits are simple, with pairs taking turns incubating one to three eggs in a mere scrape in the sand. Their diet consists primarily of sand eels, which they fish for in the sea.
This year, the site recorded an impressive 155 fledglings, a testament to the vigilant efforts of the Little Tern wardens.
These wardens not only maintain electric fencing to safeguard the terns from ground predators like foxes and weasels but also monitor aerial threats such as kestrels and peregrine falcons.
Claudia Smith, the North Denbighshire Coastal Ranger, elaborated on the wardens’ roles, stating, “They keep track of the number of nests on the shingle, and later in the season, the number of fledglings, which has given us an indication of the season’s success.”
She also highlighted the collaboration with licenced bird ringers, who have over 35 years of experience with little terns.
Their efforts have led to valuable data collection, including the discovery of the oldest known little tern, aged over 25 years.
The Gronant site has also been a hub for nature enthusiasts this year.
From Young Rangers of Loggerheads Country Park to school groups and adult visitors, many have been captivated by the Little Terns.
Visitors can observe these birds from various vantage points, including a visitors’ centre, a bird hide, and the beach itself.
In line with their commitment to the environment, the Countryside staff adhere to a ‘no-trace’ policy, ensuring that all equipment is removed and stored until the next breeding season.
Denbighshire County Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport and Biodiversity Champion, expressed his delight at the news, stating, “All credit must go to the hard work of our countryside teams and the fantastic volunteers who do so much to protect and support this important colony based in Denbighshire.”
For those interested in learning more about Gronant’s Little Tern colony or volunteering opportunities, Claudia Smith can be reached at email@example.com or on 07785517398.
Photo: David Woodfall Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com