Sandwiches before lunch

With an army of volunteers enlisted from the splendid “Friends of the Sefton Coast” for the second Sandwich Tern roost survey at Ainsdale this year, it was beginning to appear that I wouldn’t get a look-in.
Fortunately for me, unforseens meant I got a chance deputise and nip down for the count today recording the terns, looking for rings and monitoring the amount of disturbance.
With an afternoon job in Southport I couldn’t stay long, but it was worth it for the sound of the terns and the sight of ’em winging in against an inky horizon.

Count as follows:

Ainsdale beach, 1055-1210:

Sandwich Tern 337
(adults 307, juves 30; one colour ringed subadult, orange on left leg, metal ring on right)
Common Tern 36
Arctic Tern 4
Little Tern 3
(adult 1, juves 2)

Roost disturbance – dog walkers x4; jogger 1.

The dog disturbance was unfortunately far more predictable than the Little Terns – I was made up to see three of the midget gems dwarfed by the Sarnies and Commons, and even attempted an ill-advised zoom digi-scope record shot…. you can just make two of ’em out can’t you?

Many thanks to all the volunteers who are helping with this project this year – but if anyone else wants to submit any Sandwich Tern counts to me from the beach between Ainsdale and Birkdale, they can do so by emailing them to my work email at: john.dempsey@sefton.gov.uk
I’ll be collating a report on this second annual survey, any ringing returns and the amount of disturbance once the counts are completed in September.
Hopefully this will highlight the importance of this roost (over 2,700 birds at its peak last year) and the significance of disturbance on these birds.
Muchas gracias.

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