Plea to keep dogs on leads near protected Little Tern colony at Gronant beach
Dog owners are being asked to make sure their pets are on leads around the protected Little Tern colony at Gronant beach.
The group of Little Terns is the largest breeding colony found in Wales.
The beach site is internationally known as it contributes to over 10 per of the entire UK breeding population as well as supplementing other colonies.
Little Terns are a Schedule 1 species which means there is additional protection during the breeding season for the birds, nests, eggs and dependent young.
If the birds are disturbed, a person could face an unlimited fine and up to six months imprisonment.
In a post on social media from the Denbighshire Countryside Service @GronantTerns account, a spokesperson said:
“Sad to say that we have had a chick predated by a kestrel this week.”
“It’s a natural process and part of normal food chains.”
“What is not on is dogs disturbing and attacking the wildlife.”
“We have seen several instances of this JUST this morning (Thursday, June 9).”
“It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure dogs do not cause harm.”
Exciting news! With thanks to the hard working volunteers from @NW_LITTLE_TERN, we have had a RECORD nest count for Little Terns at Gronant this week with over 200 nests marked AND our first sighting of chicks this season!
Keep your eyes peeled for updates! #recordbreaker pic.twitter.com/kmQlA2aokC
— Gronant Little Terns (@GronantTerns) June 7, 2022
They continued: “As Schedule 1 Protected birds, if disturbed or harmed penalties include an unlimited fine, up to six months imprisonment or both.”
“Dogs on leads, please.”
The Little Tern is the smallest Tern species in Britain, about half the size of a Common Tern.
They have a yellow bill with a small black tip and a distinctive chattering voice.
The adults only weigh a little over 50g, as much as a golf ball.
They arrive back in Britain from West Africa at the end of April to breed on sand or shingle beaches, spits or small inshore islands.
The beach at Gronant offers good nesting habitat as it is made up of a perfect mix of shingle and sand in areas.
The local colony has been getting a helping hand of support from a volunteer group: the North Wales Little Tern Group.
They have helped Denbighshire Countryside service staff put up four kilometres of fencing at the beach to create pens for the birds to safely nest in.
Little Terns at the site have also been seen in greater numbers over the spring with a recent count recording over 200 adult birds, with nests now confirmed at the site.
Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are really grateful to the volunteers for their work in helping us protect this important colony of Little Terns at Gronant to give them a thriving future at the site.
“If you do wish to see the colony, we encourage people to either come to the viewing platform or the visitor centre with a pair of binoculars to reduce any disturbance to the nesting birds. “
If anyone is interested in volunteering to support the Little Terns colony, email email@example.com for further information.
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