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.
Photo credits: Matt Brown