An almost fledged Little Tern chick on Baltray beach.
The Louth Nature Trust is seeking volunteer wardens to help protect the colony of little terns which breed every year on the beach at Baltray.
Little terns are one of Ireland’s rarest breeding birds with just a few colonies around the coast.
These smallest of terns nest on the beach at Baltray just north of the mouth of the Boyne. Every year they arrive in May, make a nest on the beach, usually little more than a scrape, and lay two to three eggs.
Louth Nature Trust Director, Breffni Martin, told Drogheda Life that by late June or early July the chicks hatch and after a few weeks fledge and prepare for their return migration to West Africa in August.
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“While their fortunes have been somewhat mixed in the last few years, this year we have over 30 active nests and more than 50 chicks just hatched” he said.
“To protect the colony we erect fencing around it, mainly to keep rodents, foxes and the like out of the area, but also to deter quad bikes, loose dogs and a range of other threats that may occur; in general walkers are very cooperative and keep their dogs on a leash.
“In addition to this sometimes we have crows and gulls predating the eggs and chicks so that we need volunteer wardens to patrol the site and explain what is going on to visitors, as well as chase away any crows or gulls.
“The season has just reached its peak so right now and over the next two weeks we need volunteer wardens.
“If anyone is available to spare an hour or two walking on the beach and learning about the little terms please phone or send a text message to the site hotline: 0862434874 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information see: www.louthnaturetrust.org