I’ve seen terns at ev­ery turn

Middleton Guardian - - WILDLIFE -

I SPENT a week in the north east re­cently and I was treated to a real nat­u­ral won­der when I vis­ited the Long Nanny tern sanc­tu­ary.

As you ap­proached Long Nanny along the lovely long Bead­nell Bay beach, you could hear the terns chit­ter­ing and chat­ter­ing away.

The noise was im­mense as more than a thou­sand lit­tle tern (rare), Arc­tic tern and com­mon tern were nest­ing on the beach and in the dunes.

At the na­ture re­serve hut I was lit­er­ally five yards from nest­ing com­mon terns – hence the nice pic­ture ac­com­pa­ny­ing this ar­ti­cle.

I nor­mally only cry at foot­ball matches when Wi­gan Ath­letic win, so it’s not that of­ten, but tears of joy were def­i­nitely start­ing to push their way from eye sock­ets.

This was a pretty emo­tional mo­ment as the terns dived in to keep me at bay. Of course this is the north west so what is the con­nec­tion? Well, this year I have no­ticed terns at al­most ev­ery turn. I saw some at Wi­gan Flashes, they breed at Yar­row Val­ley in Chor­ley and on the Sefton Coast. I have even heard of them on the Ship Canal at Me­dia City.

Terns are the most ac­ro­batic of birds and they are at their most ex­cit­ing when hov­er­ing over the sea, lakes and rivers and then div­ing ar­row-like into wa­ter, be­fore ap­pear­ing with a tasty morsel.

The com­mon tern is a medium-sized tern. It is some­times a loner so you may see it away from known breed­ing colonies.

Com­mon terns are noisy in their colonies and, like most terns, will at­tack in­trud­ers threat­en­ing their nests. I cer­tainly had to do some duck­ing and div­ing.

They breed on sandy coasts, in dunes and on is­lands but also breed in­land on grav­elly banks of lakes and rivers.

Com­mon terns and Arc­tic terns can be very dif­fi­cult to tell apart.

The com­mon tern is whiter be­low, has shorter tail stream­ers and a longer bill which is or­angey-red with a black tip. Com­mon terns are sil­very-grey above with a large black cap and short red legs.

If we are start­ing to see more and more of these won­der­ful birds it is great news and it is cre­at­ing some amaz­ing spec­ta­cles on our coasts and in­land wa­ter bod­ies.

The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side is ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the wildlife in Lan­cashire, seven bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester and four of Mersey­side, all ly­ing north of the River Mersey. It man­ages around 40 na­ture re­serves and 20 Lo­cal Na­ture Re­serves cov­er­ing acres of wood­land, wet­land, up­land and meadow. The Trust has 29,000 mem­bers, and over 1,200 vol­un­teers.

To be­come a mem­ber of the Trust go to the web­site at www. lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to: cheshirewil­dlifetrust. org.uk.

A tern at Bead­nell Bay

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