Bumper breeding season for Pagham Harbour terns


A bumper breeding season for terns at Pagham Harbour has seen the highest-ever number of Little Terns fledge on the reserve.

No fewer than 26 young Little Terns fledged, with the some of the success down to the creation of the new 'Breach Island' as part of flood defence works on the Church Norton spit. This fresh shingle island is exactly the habitat Little Terns seek and, early in the season, the reserve team erected an electrified predator exclusion fence. Little Terns began prospecting nesting sites shortly after.

No fewer than 26 Little Tern chicks fledged at Pagham Harbour this summer (Nick Clayton).

This summer also saw the highest-ever number of breeding Sandwich Terns (335 pairs), Black-headed Gulls (1,434 pairs) and Mediterranean Gulls (282 pairs). Unfortunately however, a suspected outbreak of bird flu meant that there were diminished fledgling rates among these colonial species.

Despite this, some 148 fledged Sandwich Terns is the third highest count for Pagham Habour. Some 473 Black-headed Gulls and 269 Mediterranean Gulls fledged.