<![CDATA[ROSEATE TERN LIFE PROJECT - News]]>Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:30:54 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Seabird Cruises in the Firth of Forth]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 14:29:02 GMThttp://roseatetern.org/news/seabird-cruisesAre you interested in seeing some of the stunning seabirds in the Firth of Forth?
Why not consider the RSPB's Seabird Cruises which are available during the summer?

South Queensferry Cruises
Join the RSPB aboard the Maid of the Forth for a 3 hour fun and fact filled trip around the islands of the Forth. 

Starting under the iconic Forth bridges we will sail east past Inchgarvie, Inchcolm and Inchmickery out to our turning point at Inchkeith.  Along the way we are sure to see many of the birds that make up the fantastic seabird colonies found in the forth including puffins, fulmars, eiders and shags as well as seals hauled out on buoys, terns fishing and we may even catch a glimpse of peregrine falcon hunting. 

With in-depth commentary from RSPB experts bringing the environment to life, it’s sure to be a fun and fact filled cruise!

Cruises sail on Sunday 4th June and Sunday 2nd July at 6pm.
Puffins flying by Ed Marshall (rspb-images.com)
North Berwick Cruise
Hop aboard the ‘Seafari Explorer’ catamaran for a two hour trip around the fascinating Forth islands. 

Sailing from North Berwick harbour we will first head west towards Fidra, said to the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s treasure island and now a RSPB nature reserve, before turning to head back towards Craigleith and on towards the Bass rock, the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets and ‘one of the wildlife wonders of the world’. 

We will see gannets fishing, seals basking and puffins galore as we see hear and smell the wildlife spectacle that helps make the forth such a special place.

Cruise sails on Saturday 17th June at 6pm.
The North Berwick cruise is £20 for adults (RSPB members £18) and £12 for children.
The South Queensferry cruise is £18 for adults (RSPB members £16) and £7 for children. Family tickets (two adults and two children) are £40.
To book, visit maidoftheforth.co.uk or for more information call 01324 832853

<![CDATA[The Plight of the Sandeel!]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 15:22:07 GMThttp://roseatetern.org/news/the-importance-of-sandeelsToday's guest blog is by Lizzy Green and the Sandeel literature review she has been working on:

"I’m a Species and Habitats Officer on the Roseate Tern Life Project in the Nature Recovery Unit and have been working with the RSPB since January 2017.

The main objective of my role is to improve our understanding of tern diets around the British Isles by gathering and synthesising information from the peer-reviewed and grey literature. This involves collating information on what terns are eating, how this varies spatially, temporally and between species, and how this variation in diet affects tern breeding success. I am also analysing the impacts of diet on tern productivity using a long-term data set of Arctic tern chick provisioning from two sites on Anglesey. However, another crucial aspect of my role is gathering ecological information about key prey species for terns, such as the lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus).
Roseate tern with a sandeel (by Brian Burke)
The lesser sandeel is one of the most important prey species for seabirds around the UK, providing a high-lipid food source that, due to its long, thin body shape, is easy for chicks to swallow. However, the availability of sandeels fluctuates between years and can have severe impacts on seabird breeding success, particularly for populations with little or no access to alternative prey. Further, adult sandeels demonstrate limited dispersal ability and high habitat specificity, rendering this species vulnerable to local depletion and climate-driven reductions in their zooplankton prey.

In this literature review I collate information on the ecology, status, and distribution of the lesser sandeel, consider the drivers of inter-annual variation in populations, summarise evidence demonstrating the importance of the species for seabirds and discuss the current and potential impacts of climate change, fisheries and other factors on sandeel populations."
Green, E.2017. A literature review of the lesser (Raitt's) sandeel Ammodytes marinues in European waters.pdf
File Size: 2160 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

<![CDATA[Bird's Eye View of a Chenier]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 10:49:03 GMThttp://roseatetern.org/news/birds-eye-view-of-a-chenierDrone Footage of the newly created nesting bund on a chenier in Lymington, gives us an amazing bird's eye view!

It's a good sign that the hand-made and painted common tern decoys are visible from the sky as it means the prospecting terns will also be able to see them and will hopefully consider this place a suitable safe haven to nest!

We'll keep you posted!
<![CDATA[Terning the Tide in the Solent?]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 14:02:28 GMThttp://roseatetern.org/news/terning-the-tide-in-the-solent Today's guest blog is from Matt Brown, Roseate Tern LIFE Project Officer and the preparations being made for the terns in the Solent.

The south coast of England, and in particular, the Solent, offers a diverse range of habitats that have historically supported large tern colonies. The roseate tern is a cited species on the Solent and Southampton Water SPA designation. The citation states two pairs, at the time representing 3.1% of the GB breeding population (5-year peak mean, 1993-1997). One or two pairs nested each year between 2002-2006 in the Western Solent and last year an individual was seen on footage from a trail camera deployed on Lymington saltmarsh.

The Western Solent is particularly susceptible to nesting habitat loss through the processes of wave action and sea-level rise. Human disturbance and predation have also been identified as contributing factors in the reduction of tern colonies in the SPA.

With all this considered, the Roseate Tern Project team has been busy delivering concrete conservation actions in the Western Solent and three habitat creation projects have been completed as part of an effort to improve the breeding status of tern species in Lymington-Keyhaven area - the success of more widespread tern species is a prerequisite to recolonisation by the rarer roseate tern.
The shallow draft barge, tonnes of shingle and the deck crane all ready to start the chenier recharge
In late March, a local marine contractor facilitated shingle recharge on a small section of saltmarsh close to Lymington river mouth. A shallow draft barge and deck crane was used to lift 88 tonnes of shingle on to the marsh and this material was then distributed by hand to form a nesting bund (see picture). This was done with the intention of increasing the profile of pre-existing chenier beaches, which is the primary nesting habitat for terns in the Western Solent.
Thanks to everyone who helped move the shingle and make the nesting bund!
Sea-level rise has reduced the amount of available nesting space and cheniers are frequently flooded at high tide. It is hoped that the recharge will lower the risk of nest flooding as a large proportion of the bund lies above high water. We will be using a drone to capture high-resolution images of the bund. The RSPB’s Data Management Unit will then process these images in GIS and produce maps showing changes to the structure of the bund and any movement of shingle associated with wave action and tides.
The building of the nesting platforms on the breakwater
Following the completion of the recharge contract, three nesting platforms were built of top of a breakwater in Lymington River. These platforms may favour tern site selection as they remain above high water and are not connected to the mainland, so the threat from mammalian predators (e.g. fox and mink) is small. Public access to the breakwaters is prohibited and the breakwater is located outside of the main river channel, so there is little threat from human disturbance.
With the various substrates added for terns to try, the platforms are complete!
The nesting platforms are 3 x 2m in size and were constructed using hessian sandbags filled with concrete. Two of the nesting platforms contain pea shingle and the other contains pumice - it will be interesting to see which, if any of the substrates, is preferentially used for nesting. As with any newly-created habitat, decoys and chick shelters have been deployed to encourage prospecting terns to nest and provide protection from avian predators.
UPDATE: Fantastic news with two common terns observed briefly landing on the newly created platforms in the courtship stages of aerial displays and parading around with a good sized fish! Hopefully they will take a liking to the breakwater platforms and return to nest. We’ll keep you posted!
Volunteers and staff assembled the rafts and added the nesting substrate
The final habitat creation project was completed last week with the help of Hampshire Countryside Service and volunteers from Natural England. Six tern rafts were deployed on Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve and Efford lake, which is a former gravel extraction pit. Two rafts were deployed on a saline lagoon close to Lymington seawall – this is a well-know fishing spot for little terns. The rafts were assembled on shore before being floated through a small gap in the reed bed. To prevent drifting, two anchors were attached to the rafts and sunk to the bottom of the lagoon. The rafts have been joined together, with pea shingle and pumice being used as nesting substrate. The remaining four rafts  were deployed on Efford Lake the following day.
Final checks after the rafts are joined together at the water's edge
Although there was some initial interest from a common tern on one raft, this individual has since left and a black-headed gull has taken its place. Deployment time is an important consideration for any site using tern rafts as there are many other seabirds, like gulls, prospecting for suitable nesting sites. Terns return later from their overwintering grounds and sometimes loose out other species that go down on nests earlier in the season. For these reasons, many site managers wait until other non-target species have laid their first clutch before deploying the tern rafts.
Moving the rafts out to the middle of the lake before deploying the two anchors which will prevent drifting.
The project team will be monitoring tern colonies throughout the breeding season to determine what effect the newly-created habitat has on the breeding status of terns in the Western Solent. We will also be undertaking a provisioning study to gather baseline data on food supply and trialling the use of an aerolaser, which has potential to be used as a method for deterring the settlement and subsequent nesting of large gull species.

Photo credits: Matt Brown
<![CDATA[Puffins, Piano, Berets & Beer!]]>Thu, 04 May 2017 16:52:24 GMThttp://roseatetern.org/news/puffins-piano-berets-beer On the 1st of May, the Fat Mermaid restaurant, in Amble was transformed into a French piano bar to help support the local island of Coquet and it's precious inhabitants!

The lovely puffin and tern bunting decorating the windows were made by Amble First School Pupils.
Live musique français avec piano and trumpet
The ambiance was great, with live French music performed by music teacher Isabelle Morrison and William Stephenson on the trumpet.

Thanks goes to St Mark’s URC Church who loaned its piano.
Throughout the evening, everyone had the chance to try out the unique 360' Coquet Island virtual reality experience which can transport you directly to the island and become part of its' puffin colony, some 12,500 pairs!

A variety of snacks was included in the price of the ticket (£12) and the specially brewed Roseate Tern IPA and Puffin Best Bitter, designed by 'From the Notebook' was on sale at cost price. A donation from every bottle sold goes to the RSPB.

In addition all profits from the Fat Mermaid were donated to Coquet.
The Eiffel Tower even made an appearance!
It was a fantastic turn out with a full-house raising just over £500 from the tickets and £47 from the pins!              

As a result of this spectacular evening, this fundraiser will support the hardworking efforts of the RSPB (staff and volunteers) to safeguard the sole UK colony of roseate terns and the now globally endangered puffins.

A huge thank you to everyone who made this event such a success!                 
The Coquet Team got properly in character and dressed as waiters! Nice berets!
All Photo credits: Paul Morrison