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Post Info TOPIC: Gronant


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RE: Gronant


1-2.30pm:

93 occupied Little Tern nests although some destroyed by high tides last  few days according to the wardens.

Also 30 Sandwich Tern, 7 Ringed Plover, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, 7 Skylark, 6 Linnet. 



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Roger Baker 3 wrote:

Weds 27th July.

With Ian Lyth.

c 27 Little Tern .... flying and landing on the shoreline.

Roger.


bloomin heck they have soon left ,there was 400 on Sunday  



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Weds 27th July.

With Ian Lyth.

c 27 Little Tern .... flying and landing on the shoreline.

Roger.

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Talacre Warren to Gronant and back, Highlights.

Talacre Warren
Song Thrush
Skylark 10+
Stonechat 2
Sedge Warbler 3
Reed Warbler 3
Reed Bunting 7
Oystercatcher
Common Whitethroat

Gronant
Ringed Plover 7
Sanderling 1 in stunning summer plumage
Oystercatcher 12
Cormorant 32
Linnet
Meadow Pipit
Stonechat 3
Skylark 4
Little Tern colony good numbers too many to count constantly on the move
wardens count from yesterday totalled 260 birds, looking like a good year


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A fascinating and informative meeting was held on the evening of Friday 22nd August at the Scala Cinema in Prestatyn. This included a series of presentations by various guest speakers representing many interested parties looking after the welfare and monitoring of the Little Tern colony at Gronant. Speakers Adrian, Alec, David, Leah & Andy all spoke very enthusiastically and knowledgably about their particular aspect of the colony. Some points (which I sincerely hope I re-present here accurately but in no particular order) were as follows: - in 2014 - 128 pairs produced 212 nests containing 477 eggs and provided a total of 77 fledglings. Estimating the number of fledglings is not as easy as it may seem and the total given was, with refreshing honesty, described as a "best guess". Counting the number of fledglings seen down amongst flocks on the beach is the method used but this is made more difficult, firstly by adults moving their young away from their nest sites quickly and also dispersing quite widely and secondly by possible influxes from other breeding colonies. It was generally considered to be a moderate breeding season.

The nesting habitat can change year on year and this year a tidal surge in February reconfigured the beach. If I understood correctly, apparently the colony is slowly moving eastwards and whilst currently in Denbighshire may eventually end up in neighbouring Flintshire! This winter's surge may be beneficial in the long-term but this year the new alignment of the shingle resulted in many pairs nesting in areas that could not practically be protected by fencing and this resulted in large losses (c50 nests) to foxes. Other actual or possible predators seen included Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Carrion Crow, Hedgehog, with some mustelids and rodents too. Other than the February surge the impact of tides this year was considered minimal. Wardens & volunteers have a massive influence on the success and future of the colony and 643 volunteer hours was statistically shown to have an effect in the reduction of Kestrel predation. Interestingly, I understand that Little Terns have shown a recent interest in an area near Rhyl Harbour. For anyone familiar with the area this I understand is now the fenced off shingle covered area on the seaward side of the bike hire shop next to the newish Pont Y Ddraig bridge at the harbour entrance. This too will be need volunteer effort to ensure its success. Some of the fencing currently used at Gronant will be used at this new site in 2015, with new fencing being purchased for Gronant.

Professor David Norman spoke on many years ringing at the site and on how some birds at Gronant had been sighted at the most southerly locations ever recorded for Little Tern in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal in West Africa during our winter months. He understandably lamented the loss of 7 other Little Tern colonies in North and West Wales in recent decades, along with many colonies just across the Irish Sea on the east coast of Ireland. Whilst the colony at Gronant has grown substantially (15 pairs in 1975) in recent decades, never has the old proverb of not putting all your eggs in one basket rang truer? He indicated that it would be far better for the welfare of the species itself to have 6 colonies of 20 pairs each, rather than the one colony at Gronant holding 120+ pairs. He also marvelled at the astonishing speed that nestling Little Terns grow; at peak times adding 15 -20% of their actual weight on a daily basis! This is amongst the fastest growth rate for all non-passerines. Young can fledge after 16 days and obviously the less time they spend flightless on the ground the greater likelihood of recruiting any young into the adult population. Dr Leah Williams followed, speaking on the current colour coding ringing projects for Little Terns across the UK. With what is thought to be less than 2,000 breeding pairs in the UK there is still plenty we dont know about this species and ringing at the 29 colonies included in this EU Life and Nature Little Tern Recovery Project should hopefully increase our knowledge and to help aid in the recovery of this species.

Finally, whilst the colony has grown substantially in recent times, overall productivity for the last five years has been on the decline and is an obvious cause for concern. The Recovery Project and the funding associated with it hopes to address these concerns. Some aspects of nature that effect productivity (high tides and wind storms that bury eggs and nestlings at the colony) cant be controlled but the evening just highlighted the fact that many individuals and organisations are making fantastic efforts to manage and control what they can at this site for the benefit of Little Terns.

I hope this summary is of some interest to those GM birders already familiar with this really lovely site and for those who haven't yet visited hopefully whets the appetite for a trip over sometime during the 2015 breeding season.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Only half a dozen little tern left at the breeding site today, a few more way out to sea and a good number of sandwich terns through west .
:)

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Thank you for the information john and simon, im working around that area next week so hopefully will be able to get down and explore

Cheers scott

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Scott robinson


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Hi,

If I could be permitted to add to this, you should find there is a wooden boardwalk at one point across the stretch of sand dunes that takes you up to the top of the beach. The area left of this back towards Prestatyn sea front between the beach and the golfcourse had some nice birds when I was there in May, Skylarks, Linnets, Whinchat, Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler. I guess they were fresh off the boat so to speak but it was a great habitat, a bit less busy than the Talacre end of the beach so more birds about I thought.

I'm sure you'd have scouted around anyway but thought I'd chip in. All the stuff I saw is lower down in this thread, it was one of the best days I've had this year, absolutely superb watching the terns bombing around and some stunning close ups

Simon

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This is the postcode of the car park
LL19 9ST
from the car park go over the railway bridge turn left and follow the signs to the shore lookout point.
:)

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Can anyone tell me where abouts this site is please?

Cheers scott

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Scott robinson


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Thanks Bill for the links will take a look when I get home.i just thought it strange that 2 visits to the breeding site at this time of year I Would have expected to see more than 1 flying juv if they had fledged a lot of young, also Dennis Atherton did 5 hours on Sunday and didn,t see a juv, so the only conclusion can be that they move them to some other area. I noticed on the link 63 fledglings have been counted, so that's great, I must have just missed the area they were in Cheers john
:)

-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Wednesday 16th of July 2014 04:58:25 PM

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JOHN TYMON wrote:

14.07.2014
Little Terns- I am not sure how successful they have been this year as after 2 visits, I have only seen Few Juv and yesterday the volunteer wardens were going through the site with buckets picking things possibly none hatching eggs from the nest site? so presumably all the nesting is finished, there were about 100 adults but very few Juv, I hope im wrong ,but where do all the Juvs disappear to?
Sanderling -1 in part breeding plumage
Dunlin-c30





Hi John,

I always read your posts with interest and thought the following couple of links might be of some relevance...if you weren't already aware of them?

https://www.facebook.com/gronantlittleterns?hc_location=timeline

http://www.deeestuary.co.uk/news0512.htm

As you quite rightly say in your first post - what a magical place to come and enjoy not only the fabulous scenery but also the quite marvellous Little Terns. I visited on 12/7/14 and I estimated that there were about c250 birds flying about. They were admittedly very difficult to count accurately but my impression was that there were very few still nesting in the protected area and I assumed but couldn't be sure, that the majority of young (however many that may be) had already fledged? On that date I did see what seemed to be quite a few adults flying around carrying food, presumably looking for their own young to feed amongst this mobile milling mass? However, amongst this supposed count, I wonder if there will be a percentage of non-breeders, as it is considered that some may not breed until 2 years old, possibly even longer. Do these non-breeders return to their birthplace and "learn the ropes" before being recruited into the breeding population? It's an interesting point you make about the whereabouts of the juveniles though, as again it is thought that they can remain dependent on adults for some or part of their food requirements for several weeks. Maybe they move them away from the colony site at times? I was just a couple of miles around the coast at Talacre Beach a few days later but didn't see or hear any Little Terns there though.

One suspects that the weather has been relatively kind this year and a positive factor and breeding has possibly taken place a little earlier as a consequence? I guess only the wardens will know how big a factor predation has been this year.

On the Facebook page - I'm not sure if the count of 63 fledglings on 13/7 is the sum total this year? If so, then looking at the old historical data on the graph on the Dee Estuary Birding Newsletter dated May '12, then it possibly looks to have been just a modest breeding season?

Full credit and thanks must go to all those who warden the colony and put the protection measures in place and do a great job in managing the site. Without which one worries at the long-term viability of the colony.

Hope this is of some interest and apologies if you had already looked at these links.


Best wishes,


Bill.


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14.07.2014
Little Terns- I am not sure how successful they have been this year as after 2 visits, I have only seen Few Juv and yesterday the volunteer wardens were going through the site with buckets picking things possibly none hatching eggs from the nest site? so presumably all the nesting is finished, there were about 100 adults but very few Juv, I hope im wrong ,but where do all the Juvs disappear to?
Sanderling -1 in part breeding plumage
Dunlin-c30

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Good afternoon at Gronant on the beach
Little Terns- about 90 pairs apparently have fledged, with just a few left with smaller chicks, biggest problem according to one of the volunteers is the local kestrels that keep taking chicks and even adult little terns.
Sandwich Tern -10+through south
Oystercatcher -1 adult with 3 small chicks that seemed to be driving the parents mad by wanting to run all over the beach while there were a few dog walkers about, although it was great to see them all on leads when near to the tern colony :)
Gannet- a couple way out to sea
Ringed Plover-2 with a couple of Juvs
A wonderful place at this time of year, and I almost had the beach to myself :)

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Went over to have a look at the Little Terns this afternoon, couldn't believe that it was 3 years since I was last there. disbelief

Great to see the colony so active with 130 + successful breeding pairs according to one of the wardens. There were certainly plenty of chicks moving around, seen through the scope.

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Visited the Little Tern colony again today just before high tide after my earlier unproductive visit several weeks ago. There was about 60-70 Little Terns around the protected fenced off area but many more feeding just off shore, Some engaged In courtship offering sand eels to perspective mates,

Other birds of note was a fly over Osprey which gave fantastic views as it floated over the sand dunes.
High tide Oystercatcher roost c500 birds

-- Edited by Mark Burgess on Sunday 15th of June 2014 09:09:38 PM

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100+ Little Terns feeding close to shore at high tide today.
Good numbers of Ringed Plover also, small groups of Sandwich Tern flying pass and a Grey Seal bottling close in too.

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Low tide Mon pm produced:

4 Little Terns
Male Wheatear
Sedge Warbler
Common Whitethroat
8 Linnet
4 Common Scoter distant

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11:00 -- 13:00
High tide 09:30

Little Terns - >250. They are back in force. Very busy establishing pairs. Each male had a sand eel in its bill and was trying to entice a female. No other terns seen.
Great Black-backed Gull - 6
Herring Gulls
Sanderling - 50 (single flock)
Ringed Plovers
Dunlins
Oystercatchers
Cormorants - 100 (bunched together on the point)
Linnet - 1
Stonechat - 1
LittleEgret - 1
Shelduck - 1
Skylark - 1




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I had a brilliant day at Gronant today, between about 830 and 1430. I arrived at Prestatyn station, walked to Point of Ayr RSPB hide and back via the famous beach. Some brilliant birds:

Dunes
Linnet 7 inc 3 pairs
Wheatear 2 female
Skylarks 12 plus lots of singles in songflight and 3 together
Meadow Pipit 2
Grasshopper Warbler, lifer for me, heard it then delighted to find it perched on a bare bush, so I got to see the plumage and the various other ID features from about 20 yards away

Gronant Beach
Great Black-backed Gull 2 or 3 about
Shelduck 4-5
Ringed Plover 5 on the beach, another dozen in flight
Peregrine, feeding on something on the sand. Pretty big, so maybe a female?
Common Gull, 20 or so
Lesser Black-backed Gull, 4-5
Oystercatcher 40-50
Possible Bar-tailed Godwit 15 in flight, a long way off so I couldn't confirm

Point of Ayr RSPB
Skylark 3
Oystercatcher 5-6
Shelduck 3
Meadow Pipit 5-6

Gronant Beach again
Common Scoter in the thousands offshore by the windfarm (good article on Dee Estuary Birding about these Scoter by the way)
There was a high-tide roost on the beach
Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls as before
Oystercatcher 300-400
Common Gull 200+ immature birds, 1st summer mainly
Cormorant 20 or so plus about 20 on the water
Sandwich Tern up to 45, lifer, mega cool
Little Tern 45-50, lifer: more cool than the Sandwich Terns? I just don't know...
Dunlin 1 summer plumage
Sanderling 10
Dunlin 20 in flight

Dunes on return journey
Skylarks actually drowned out by the Little Terns
Wheatear m 2
Linnet m
Whinchat f
Meadow Pipits
Little Tern 4 over beach in Prestatyn direction
Dunlin 11 roosting on a groyne by Prestatyn Sailing club, all perfect summer plumage

The terns were wonderful. I was stood there at one point watching the roost with the Sandwiches and heard the Little Terns calling. Looked round, the flock of 40 odd flew right over my head about 20 yards above, straight into the pool in front of me and started washing themselves like sparrows in a bird bath. So cool. Absolutely made up to see them especially after tramping about for 5 hours thinking I wouldn't see any


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Nice to meet you today Jonathon, at least I saw and heard the Lapland Bunting!!!

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 27th of October 2013 09:45:24 PM

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There was a Lapland Bunting by the observation platform just past the Gray Phal. site this afternoon. Initially it was in a flat area in the dunes 100yds east of the platform. Later, when I looked for it with other birders, it flushed 70yds south of this spot, not far from where the ditch ends. We lost it against the sun and couldn't relocate it.

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Speculative Trip over to Gronant hoping to see the Grey Phalarope reported yesterday
Which didn't disappoint, quite elusive initially staying out of view close to reeds, just ripples in the water giving away it's location,but after an hour so it started to venture out into the open water spinning and feeding constantly.
The bird can be found on the lagoon just before the little tern colony.


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Report from 08/07 - Nice walk from Prestatyn to Point of Ayr, with the main focus being the tern colony:

c200 Little Tern - Stunning and extremely noisy little birds. There was a constant stream of adults passing overhead, taking fish back to the chicks. Many of them were fishing in tidal channels along the beach and a further 30-35 were resting on a sandbank, giving great scope views.
7 Ringed Plover
10 Dunlin in full summer plumage
2 Redshank
Lots of Oystercathers
10-15 Reed Bunting
2 Sedge Warbler
Chiffchaff
Grasshopper Warbler (heard only)
7 Skylark
Plenty of Meadow Pipits
Several small flocks of Linnet
A pair of Bullfinches
Lots of newly-fledged Pied Wagtails
1 Little Egret
2 Stock Dove
7 Collared Dove
Lots of Herring Gulls, Blach-headed Gulls and Cormorants.
Single Gannet, fishing well offshore
Hirundines all along the beach, mainly House Martins

A lovely afternoon stroll in glorious weather and a lifer to boot!<img src="www.sparkimg.com/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" alt="smile" title="smile" />

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10.30 - 12.00 warm and sunny

Little Tern c200, Talking to the wardens that oversee the site there are 114 nests within the protected fenced off area.
Ringed Plover 6 +2 chicks
Oystercatcher 12
Dunlin 3
Reed Bunting 3
Skylark 3
Meadow Pipit 5
Song Thrush


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an afternoon visit with phil Kelly to see the little tern colony, a lifer for myself smile and spectacular views of them flying overhead in the beautiful blue skies giving me a chance to get some good pics. over 200 birds present at the moment, also several ringed plovers & oystercatchers. usual birds around inc 2 little egrets, 1 stonechat & 1 reed bunting.
thanks again phil for a great day out smilesmile

-- Edited by steven burke on Sunday 9th of June 2013 10:49:23 PM

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Had a trip over to Gronant today with John Barber who had not seen the Little Tern colony previously. There are reported to be 300+ birds in the area - we counted 140 on the beach at high tide. Also present several Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin. A pleasant couple of hours in the sunshine.

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16.30 - 19.00 Slight breeze but quite warm and mostly sunny

Had a stroll along the beach mainly for the Little Terns but also with an eye on the high tide which in the event produced nothing out of the ordinary. The Little Terns were spectacular - apparently there were 114 nesting pairs this year producing 216 fledged chicks. They were gave us really good close flight views - worth the effort of going so late in the day. Other birds of interest, a gathering of 20 or so Ringed Plover, a few Dunlin, a single Little Egret and the usual Gulls various.



-- Edited by sid ashton on Wednesday 4th of August 2010 09:50:37 AM

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A quick visit this morning after staying overnight at my parents holiday home at Talacre Beach:

100+ Little Terns at the fenced off area (1st day of chicks hatching according to the wardens) smile.gif
3 Sandwich Terns
1 Grasshopper Warbler
2 Sedge Warblers
2 Reed Buntings
8 Dunlin
2 Gannets
20+ Oystercatchers





-- Edited by Phil Owen on Monday 14th of June 2010 12:22:57 AM

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Despite the rain showers a short trip to the Little Tern colony this afternoon was what was needed after an iffy couple of days. A good number of the young have now fledged and it was brilliant watching them having their flying/fishing lessons biggrin.gif

A Sparrowhawk flying through caused a bit of a stir amongst the Terns (Little and Sandwich) and the Ringed Plover on the shingle. In the dunes all of the usual suspects Skylark, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Mipit were seen.

-- Edited by sid ashton on Thursday 16th of July 2009 09:43:42 PM

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100's little terns yesterday at Gronant plus abut 12 Sandwich ternsbiggrin.gif

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Had to pick the wife up today in Talacre but arrived very late (6pm) due to car problems.

A quick walk with the dog on Gronant beach was therefore in order and this resulted in a solitary Little Tern which obliged by landing in front of me on one of the rock pools (wish I had taken my camera!!)

The main fenced-off area was in the distance but couldn't be reached due to the standing water on the beach at the time, so not sure exactly how many were present.

I didn't really fancy going for a swim at the time!!!




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