Nesting terns on Frensham Little Pond
If we’re lucky, common terns visit our pond in the warmer months (our little café is named after these wonderful birds).
In 2013 an old nesting raft was replaced by a modern new one and terns have since made it their home and bred. Some years have been more successful than others…
The new raft was kindly funded by the Haslemere Natural History Society and it was made by Filcris Ltd. Together we designed a raft to blend in with the pond and protect the chicks from predators like mink.
Special features for our fluffy chicks
- Four perching platforms for the chicks to enjoy our lovely views
- Four tile shelters to protect the chicks from the heat of the sun
Monitoring our terns
- A pair of terns eventually bred and produced two chicks. Unfortunately one of them died within three weeks and the second survived for about two months.
- We’re not sure why they died but it may have been heat exhaustion, neighbouring birds of prey or heron, or aggressive competition from other terns.
Following the success of last year’s new tern nesting raft, we installed a second raft (also funded by the Haslemere Natural History Society) on the pond.
- Two nesting pairs made their home on each raft and both had chicks. Unfortunately, all of the chicks disappeared quite quickly and we presume they were predated, maybe by a heron.
- This was not surprising for the three youngsters on the old raft because they spent a lot of their time in the middle of the raft, which was where their nest was. But we thought that the three on the new raft would survive as their nest was tucked away and protected by the ramp.
- A pair of terns successfully nested on raft 2 and had two chicks. The chick’s first flight was in mid-July, and the family stayed at the Little Pond until later that month while the young birds improved their flying skills. They also practiced their diving whenever they dropped a fish an adult brought to them.
- There was a single chick on raft 1 and it looked ready to fledge at the beginning of July but then we lost sight of it. The behaviour of the adults seemed to suggest that it may have perished. However, there’s a possibility that it did fledge and the family left soon after, we just missed them leave the Little Pond.
- Terns nested on raft 2 and their chicks successfully fledged and moved to the Great Pond with their parents,
- Terns also nested on raft 1 but we believe their chicks perished as a result of predation by mink or brown rat.
Hopefully 2017 will be a good year for our nesting terns and we'll up date you next year...
Tim Mockridge, Area Ranger