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Preston Docks terns around seabird’s fortunes

Posted on - 5th August, 2014 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, What's On in Preston, Wildlife and Conservation

Preston Marina

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Preston Marina conservation project enjoys its most successful season ever.

Concerned about the plight of seabirds attempting to nest and breed on breakwaters around Preston Marina the RSPB and Fylde Bird Club teamed up see if they could help.

Together with Preston City Council, they helped create artificial nests by placing recycled tyres and gravel on the breakwaters.

This year, the work has helped the common tern increase in number. In fact it is reported that more than 140 pairs of terns now nest at the former docks, producing over 135 chicks.

The RSPB say this represents roughly a 30% increase in productivity compared to last year.

They also report that two pairs of Arctic terns have nested and fledged one chick. This is the first confirmed breeding of the species in Lancashire for several years,

Terns have very long pointed wings, forked tails, black caps and black tipped red bills. Although smaller than the gulls that share the marina they are able to chase away any that get too close to their nests.

The breeding sites at the marina have now become a tourist attraction.

The RSPB is setting up a viewpoint in the marina to give members of the public the opportunity to watch and learn more these impressive birds.  

Paul Ellis from Fylde Bird Club said: “This thriving seabird colony is obviously great news for the terns but it is also a great asset for Preston. It is attracting visitors from far and wide because it provides an unsurpassed opportunity to see these birds at close quarters and watch all the drama of life in the colony.”

Amy Hannan from the RSPB is running the tern viewpoint. She says:“Common terns are great birds to watch; small, fast and agile, they are very graceful in flight. Unable to compete with larger gulls in a physical contest for food, they have evolved to out-manoeuvre them.”

Cabinet Member for Community and Environment at Preston City Council, Councillor Robert Boswell, said: “It is great news that the number of common terns has increased once again this year at Preston Marina. Congratulations must go to Fylde Bird Club and the RSPB for all their work. Preston City Council is happy to support them with their project to improve breeding conditions for local seabirds.”

The tern viewpoint will be open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on:

Friday 8 August 2014
Wednesday 13 August 2014
Friday 22 August 2014
Tuesday 26 August 2014

Price: Free but donations are welcome

This event is run by the RSPB in partnership with Fylde Bird Club and Preston City Council. 

For more information, contact Amy Hannan on 01524 581027 or emailamy.hannan@rspb.org.uk

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