Common Terns at Sparham Lakes

For newer members of WVBS it is worth mentioning the background to the raft.

In 2005 Jordan Cereals, owners of Pensthorpe, celebrated their 150 years of trading and sponsored several wetland conservation projects across the country.  Jordans approached WVBS and asked for proposals which they would consider funding.  The end result is the Tern Raft at Sparham Lakes close to Sparham Pools NWT nature reserve where Common Terns had nested for many years on a small island cleared specifically for the purpose. Common Tern like to nest on bare clean shingle and one of the reasons for their varied success was encroachment of weeds. Our chairman Alwyn Jackson was warden of Sparham Pools NWT until very recently and this helped make objective comparisons of the various successes of the two sites.

During 2010 only one visit was made to the raft, on 14th June, and none to the island as by this stage the young on the island were large enough to disperse. The sides of the raft prevented them from scattering.

Six pairs of Common Tern successfully raised 9 chicks on the raft and this compares with 6 in 2007, 11 in 2008 and 15 in 2009. Not quite such a good year but it is pleasing to record that the island on Sparham NWT hosted 24 pairs and it is estimated that they raised 24+ young. The greatly improved success on the island is believed to be due to the vegetation on the island being sprayed in the spring complementing the good work of Alwyn and his helpers.

The future – the raft is out of the water awaiting the manufacturer to collect for repair of the buoyancy tanks and hopefully the same management regime will be followed in 2011 for the island.

A big THANKYOU to everyone who has helped with the management of both the raft and the island. Let us hope the Common Terns continue to appreciate our endeavours.

Ray Gribble

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