Posted: Sat 2nd Jul 2022

Video captures moment off lead dog tears through protected Gronant Little Tern colony

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jul 2nd, 2022

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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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