Nesting Tern Update

30 June 2017
Nesting Tern Update

The nesting terns at Rye Harbour had a late start to the season, because there were very few small fish in the sea in early May. A weeks or so later, and the fish arrived, the terns fed well and went on to produce eggs and now the chicks are being fed and the biggest can just about fly. We won't know how successful they have been until all the chicks have flown be the end of July.

Our latest estimates are:

Little Tern 15 pairs and all hatched and are feeding chicks. Our smallest tern feeds on small sea fish (and shrimps if they have to), but can only fly 1km to get food for their chicks.

Common Tern 160+ pairs some hatched, some still courting. They can feed on freshwater fish, but prefer salt water Sandeels, if they are there.

Sandwich Terns 220 pairs, some about to fly and some still courting. Our largest tern feeds on much larger fish generally, but tiny fish are needed for the very young chicks. They can fly 15 km to get food for their chicks.

These three species of tern have a similar appearance but are of very different size. They feed on different fish in different places so can live happily side by side with little competition.