Tern Raft sited near Sparham Pools.

Tern Raft Project

The Committee has received a letter from a member seeking clarification around the setting up, access to and management of the Tern Raft sited near Sparham Pools.

This is our response to the questions asked:

1 History

Tim Nevard on behalf of Jordan’s Cereals approached WVBS as they were looking to sponsor small projects as part of Jordan’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The project had to be related to “habitat rehabilitation/interpretation in a wetland area” with the sum of £4000 being awarded.

The decision as to how WVBS should use the money had a very short time frame due to the advertising deadlines that Jordan’s were working towards. Hence the decision being taken by the Committee as there was not sufficient time to consult the membership.

The money awarded was ring fenced for a wetland area project, so it was not possible to use it for other purposes.

2 Access to the site by members.

The main priority when choosing a site for the Tern Raft was a successful breeding outcome. It was felt that a “white elephant” would not have been a credit to the Society. Therefore we sought an open site, which hopefully the Terns would be able to protect against avian and other predators, and did not get excessive human disturbance. This is why the Tern Raft is sited on a lake that has been developed out of an old gravel pit that is on both private property and within a conservation area.

To have sited the raft within the public access area of Sparham Pools Reserve would have left it vulnerable to both undesirable members of the public, and also to aerial predators that would have used the trees as staging posts prior to attack.

Ray Gribble liaises with the landowner on behalf of WVBS to arrange access to the site. Respect has to be given to the owner’s wishes.

It is because of the above issues that access to the site is somewhat restricted. However, it is hoped that during the year, planned visits for WVBS members can be arranged. The first such visit will be made during the Dawn Chorus event to be held on 6 May 2007. It is hoped to plan a further visit to coincide with the breeding season of the Terns, but as it is impossible to predict the exact timing of this, arrangements will have to be arranged at short notice.

A report on the activity at the Tern Raft will be given at each indoor meeting and in our newsletters during the summer. It is hoped that this will keep members informed about the progress of the project.

The Committee hopes that this answers the questions raised. However, if the above information raised further questions, then please contact Alwyn or Ray.

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