Brand new colony

Earlier in the year Blashford volunteers Geoff and Pete built a new tern raft using a slightly different design, incorporating pontoon floats instead of polystyrene ones. We decided to try the raft on a new lake to see if we could start a new tern colony away from the four usual rafts on Ivy lake, so we went for Ellingham pound the small lake just north of Ellingham lake and the water ski club. The first slight draw back was the new raft was assembled at the site workshops and so had to be carried down to Ellingham pound, a distance of about four hundred metres, there was some doubt as to whether we’d be able to manage this but thirteen of us did it with ease. A big thank you goes to Geoff and Pete for making up the raft, everyone who carried it to the pound and volunteer Ben for helping me in the boat with the towing and securing of the raft.


volunteers carrying the raft


New raft on the lake shore

The raft was ignored for the first few days it was out but I was really pleased to see six common terns sat on the raft this morning, calling to each other and occasionally mating, with luck a few more pairs will join them over the next few weeks. We hope in the future, if we can secure the funds, to add more rafts and hopefully have four rafts on this lake, to form a new tern colony the same size as the one on Ivy lake.


New tern raft on Ellingham pound


5 Terns on the new raft

I am also pleased to say that the lapwing chick in front of Tern hide made it through yesterday’s heavy downpours, and there is another lapwing pair with four chicks just right of the hide this morning.


lapwing chick in front of the Tern hide

Also this morning I noticed starlings nesting in a hole high in a sweet chestnut along Ellingham Drove. Starlings as a breeding bird are very scarce at Blashford, I know of only two pairs nesting on the whole reserve (although it is possible there are more), which is a complete contrast to the winter when thousands come to roost in the Avon valley.


Starling chicks peeping out of a hole in a sweet chestnut tree.


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