Posted: Thu 9th Jun 2022

Plea to keep dogs on leads near protected Little Tern colony at Gronant beach

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 9th, 2022

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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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 littleternengagement2022@outlook.com for further information. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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