14:3

That time of year again, when the Sandwich Tern numbers start to build between Ainsdale and Birkdale.
It is a little tricky to organise a survey count this year for obvious reasons, but if circumstances change I’ll give it a go for the fifth year through Green Sefton.
Meanwhile if you are out on the coast between Ainsdale and Birkdale and count a roost of Sandwich Terns (no matter how small), please email me the details at john.dempsey@sefton.gov.uk or use the comments section on this blog – it’s really easy (if I can do it, anyone can).
If you would like survey forms, contact me on the email above and I can send you blank copies.
We have been monitoring the roost here for some years, and a steady decline has been notable for a variety of factors ranging from disturbance to weather conditions.
Thanks to everyone who has helped out in years past.
I’m especially interested in the amount of disturbance they suffer, to learn of the number of young birds in any groups you come across, and if you can see any colour rings.
I’m also looking for dated information on disturbance, whether by dogs, horses, joggers, walkers, photographers or even birders!
Keep an eye out too for the stunning leucistic individual, ringed as a nestling at the Sands of Forvie in Aberdeenshire in 2017, which appeared at Ainsdale in 2017 and 2018.
I watched a group of 17 Sarnies on Tuesday this week in gloomy, drizzly conditions on Ainsdale beach, but at least they were in better nick than this year’s crop of Dune Helleborines on the coast, which generally seem slender, battered and burnt by recent weather.
Pleasingly there were three scallopy young Sandwich Terns in the small roost – if the 14:3 ratio could be maintained with larger groups that would be fab (if only).

Tern-wise, as an added incentive I should point out that the roost between Ainsdale and Birkdale occasionally hosts colour-ringed birds from Lady’s Island in Wexford, Ireland later in the summer, so if anyone is still stewing over the Cayenne Tern that graced that site earlier this year, there’s always the slimmest of chances that it may follow Sarnies from Wexford up the Irish Sea to call in to see us at Ainsdale.
After all, if a Lammergeier can pitch up in the Peak District, anything is possible.