The breeding terns in Rye Bay - Common, Little and Sandwich - have been struggling to maintain their breeding populations, and it seems to be getting worse. Yesterday we spent 30 minutes watching terns from the shore near the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House at high tide. It was rather sad, with just a few Common Terns seen and NONE dived to try to catch any fish. This suggests there is little food in our sea that is suitable... and remember the recent failure of our Sandwich Tern colony?
Since 2013 there has been a small fish survey at Rye Harbour carried out by a partnership of many organisations and the 2018 report can be read here
There will NOT be a 2019 survey because of lack of funds
This is disappointing following the recent extension to the marine Special Protection Area which was mostly about the breeding terns
We will try to develop a method to monitor small fish, perhaps using the inflow to the new saltmarsh. In the meantime it's good to know that the Common Terns can be flexible and are able to find food on the freshwater wetlands.
So, the health of our seas is just one of several large scale environmental challenges, but what can you do as an individual?
Take a look at this.
We won't be seeing scenes like this in 2019, but next year?