8 Jul 2019

Colour flagging Sandwich Terns at Cemlyn.

I recently got invited to help in a project colour flagging Sandwich Terns at Cemlyn lagoon on Anglesey as part of a new long term project to find out where these birds disperse to when they return as breeding adults. Last year the colony was devastated by an otter and the adult birds deserted. Where did they go? Did they attempt to breed at another colony? Would they come back this year? The answer to the 2nd question was yes they returned but no one knows where they ended up last year. With the installation of a predator proof fence the colony is doing well this year and in conjunction with the wardens plans were made to spend a minimum amount of time on the breeding island to mark as many youngsters as we could.

Although the water wasn't particularly deep in the lagoon we were towed across to the island in a metal punt by one of the wardens to minimise the disturbance of the bottom. This was quite a surreal experience!

Setting ourselves up in two teams we started ringing and colour flagging the young tern chicks gathered up by the wardens. We were limited to 45 minutes so with me ringing and Rachel colour flagging we worked methodically and as swiftly as possible. Sandwich Terns are quite docile compared to the machine gun approach of adult Arctic terns and we didn't get attacked by the adults at all. Below: Rachel applying the quick setting glue to a colour flag from her new highly prized metal syringe - so much easier than applying directly from the tube.

Sandwich Tern AEE. Hopefully we'll pick up some of these later off Hilbre as we get a late summer build up of Sandwich Terns.

With our allotted time up we'd manage to ring and flag 128 young Sandwich Terns and left the colony to return back to the wardens cottage for a debrief and tea and biscuits.
We look forward to receiving sightings on these young terns.

1 comment :

Wendy James said...

One of these juvenile Sandwich Terns with an orange flag was at Poppit on the Teifi Estuary today but unfortunately the numbers couldn't be seen clearly enough to report it through the usual channels. It looked like AVE though. Wendy James (Teifi Ringing Group)