The Common Tern is the beneficiary of recent work carried out on one of the new islands in the middle of Fleet Pond. Volunteers from Fleet Pond Society worked together with Hart Countryside Rangers (see above and below) to cover the central island with gravel paid for with funds raised through the Society’s ‘Clearwater Campaign’.
Common Terns like to nest in bare scrapes on flat, poorly vegetated islands. This makes the eggs and young vulnerable to predation by mammals such as rats and mink as well as large birds including gulls, owls and herons. It is hoped that their speckled eggs will be well camouflaged against the gravel, with protection for the chicks provided by the low level roofing tile hideaways. Fencing has been placed round the island to stop mink accessing it.
Fleet Pond Ranger, Louise Greenwood (pictured below) stated her hopes for the newly covered island: ‘In the summer of 2012 seven pairs of Terns nested on this new island but unfortunately none of them fledged as they were predated. By providing this gravel topping and the hideaways we hope that next year we will have a new colony of Terns on Fleet Pond.’
Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, said: ‘We would like to thank the company, W M Longreach, for kindly transporting the gravel over to the island for us. It is a very exciting project to have spent some campaign funds on. In fact we named the island ‘Clearwater’ and if you look closely you might be able to see the flag we planted with the ‘Clearwater Campaign’ logo on.’