Wardens and visitor opportunities

Two wardens are employed by NWWT every summer, to monitor and protect the terns.

As well as dealing with disturbance and predation, they record the numbers of nests, the fledging success of chicks, and also the kinds of fish being brought in by their parents. Feeding studies are important because availability of fish, especially the terns’ ideal food, Sandeels and Sprats, can be the key factor in a successful breeding season.

All terns are migratory. Sandwich Terns are usually the first to be seen, in late March and April, with the bulk of breeding adults of all species arriving on site in May. June and July are the busiest months for the terns, and a good time to visit the reserve, the lagoon islands becoming a hive of activity. By mid-August, the majority of chicks should have fledged, and be ready to join their parents on the journey south to their wintering areas - the coast of West Africa in the case of most Common and Sandwich Terns, as far as for Arctics.

The terns are best seen from a designated viewing area on the adjacent shingle ridge. This allows unusually close access to a major tern colony - most are situated on remote offshore islands. One of the NWWT wardens is usually on hand here in the breeding season to provide information to visitors, and offer views through the telescope.