Whos keeping an eye on me....

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Gronant Dunes and the Little Tern Colony

The sand dunes is a protected site and the only surviving largely unmodified dunes along the North Wales coastline. Deemed a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it still serves a valuable function as a natural sea defence.

During the winter, more than 100,000 waders and 20,000 water fowl make it their home and it supports Wales' only remaining colony of breeding little terns.

They spend the winter at sea off the West African coast feeding on fish. Each Spring, they migrate to this same beach near Prestatyn to nest and lay their eggs on the shingle.

The colony is wardened day and night by volunteers with the RSPB.

This is an easy 90 minute trip for me as my father lives only a few minutes away at an old mining village forthe old Point of Ayr colliery..

Welcome to Gronant Dunes

 Home of the Little Terns....
A welcoming mosaic

and of course the area is home to various other birds and wildlife

the Little Tern Colony is under 24hr watch to protect the groung nesting birds eggs and young from both human interference - usualy roaming dogs but sometimes preditors such as Foxes and Raptors
The scenery looking out towards Talacre

The board walk offers protection to the delicate dune system and the marsh land within it, while still allowing access in the winter months 

Sea bird veiwing platform

and the view from it

and of course here lies the very important Little Tern Colony

the nesting ground is barriered off just before the birds return to the UK in early June

The Colony holds around 200 breeding pairs

and like most Terns they are fast - however the extra complication of trying to get good images are they are extremely small and fast....

taking time out on the beach

the reason for their return year after year is the good supply of sand eels

Ringed Plover on the shingle

I didnt manage to see the Natterjack as its a mostly nocturnal creature

but did manage to see Sandwich Tern, Cormorant, Little Egret, Stonechat, Sedge Warbler, Mute Swan and Family parties od Skylarks


Unknown said...

Not only informative but great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

theconstantwalker said...

A superb post Dave... Local enough to visit often and a great advert for our local (ish) patch.

Dave said...

Cheers Guys

It is a special place to visit especially when the Little Terns arrive, just up the road at Talacre (Point of ayr) is great for the Sandwich Terns

fjällripan said...

Such a interesting place to visit! Great post! /Susanne

TexWisGirl said...

love those handsome terns. :)

i, myself, am not much of a football fan, but a lot of my family are huge packer backers. and i must admit - i do own a cheesehead. :)

Dave said...

Lol - cheeseheads are cool.
I had the local paper sent to me when Bret Favre left the packers, its full of his stats and is wrapped up safe in one of my drawers for safe keeping... go pack go

Anni said...

Wow....fabulous images. And I must say, I'd love to be there in person to witness this myself!


Magia da Inês said...

Fotografias lindas, informações interessantes.
Boa Noite!

Kathie Brown said...

This seems like a marvelous place! How wonderful to have it so close. I am glad they protect the birds. You did get some very good photos! I love your header photo too! Thanks for your visit to my blog!

mick said...

It sounds like a fantastic place to visit and its great that this tern colony is so carefully protected. Great photos.

Springman said...

Fantastic series Dave. These native dune areas are getting scarce and need protection. Michigan has some wonderful dunes too, I hope we do as well taking care of them!

Phil Slade said...

Fantastic to have such a place near to home Dave where you can go and get good photograph of Little Terns. They are now so scarce, I can't remember the last time I saw one.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - great post. The most frequent tern in my neck of the woods is Crested - I found a common tern in a flock of these once and it looked tiny (see my post on Feb 28th for pictures).

The Little Pied is about 60cm (+/-) long - about 2/3 the size of the UK ones.

Cheers - Stewart M

Debbie said...

oh i really enjoyed this entry. all the details, all the wonderful images!!

nice boardwalk, so us peeps don't miss out. i liked the ringed plover best, it has interesting markings!!

thanks for stopping by "it's all about purple" you get the stalling thing, pictures - housework, nothing to think about there!!

Pat said...

What a lovely place! Your tern shots are really good.

CameraCruise said...

Great and interesting post, beautiful photos.
What a lovely place to visit.
Thanks for sharing.
Have a great day.

Larry said...

Incredible shots of the Little Terns Dave! The in-flight shots are just super, especially the one with the fish in beak! I'm glad to see that the site is so well protected and patrolled. In my humble opinion we need more of that in the States.

Larry said...

Oh, I love the shot of the Juvenile Green Woodpecker in your side column! Where could I see a larger image of that shot? Cool looking bird!

Adam Jones said...

Some great Tern shots there Dave. I am off the North Wales on holiday in August so will look out for the Little Terns if they are still around.

Adam Tilt said...

Looks like a great place Dave. I shall have to pay a visit next time I'm up that way.

Nora said...

loved the whole series...like how you show the area and then the birds...funny, I was out photoing Caspian terns today!! Very nice blog going on here.

Liz said...

What a great series of bird shots Dave! I love Terns and your Plovers are beautiful. A very interesting post.