Video captures moment off lead dog tears through protected Gronant Little Tern colony
A plea has gone out to dog owners to keep their pets on leads around the protected Little Tern colony at Gronant beach.
The call has come following an incident where a dog was filmed running through the packed nesting site earlier this week.
The group of Little Terns is the largest breeding colony found in Wales.
The beach is internationally known as it contributes to over 10 per cent of the entire UK breeding population as well as supplementing other colonies.
On Thursday a video was posted on Twitter by the Denbighshire Countryside Service’s @GronantTerns account of an uncontrolled dog “tearing through the colony.”
The short clip shows vulnerable young chicks that aren’t airborne yet trying to fly out of the path of the dog which is running at speed through the nesting site.
@GronantTerns posted: “Great to have the support of @NWPRuralCrime (North Wales Police Rural Crime Team) when there are instances of disturbance, such as an uncontrolled dog tearing through the colony earlier this morning (Thursday).”
“You can see those that are able to fly trying to get away.”
“It’s hard to say how much damage an event like this can do when there are lots of vulnerable chicks which aren’t yet airborne.”
“We love our four-legged friends, but the chicks don’t stand a chance against them. Please keep dogs on leads.”
2/2 It’s hard to say how much damage an event like this can do when there are lots of vulnerable chicks which aren’t yet airborne.
We love our four legged friends, but the chicks don’t stand a chance against them. Please keep #DogsOnLeads#OpSeabirdCymru @NWPRuralCrime pic.twitter.com/z5VhD3T1sG
— Gronant Little Terns (@GronantTerns) June 30, 2022
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.
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. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com