Blithfield Tern Raft
West Midlands Bird Club was awarded £2,500 from the 2018-19 PEBBLE fund for the installation of a new Tern raft on Blithfield Reservoir.
[Apologies for the sound quality on this video due to the windy conditions.]
Blithfield Reservoir is a 790 hectare lake, used to supply more half a million homes with water every day. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest having been originally designated in 1968 for the rare ancient woodland and wildlife surrounding the reservoir. In 1987 it was re-designated in recognition if its national importance for wildfowl.
Using funding from PEBBLE, West Midlands Bird Club built and installed a raft, which sits in the middle of the reservoir, to provide a habitat for nesting common terns. When nesting on the shoreline of the reservoir, common terns are at risk from humans, foxes, mink and predatory birds such as crows. Common terns can also be forced out of nesting sites by colonies of black headed gulls.
The raft provides a safe habitat away from predators and threats. Since their introduction in the 1960s tern rafts have been credited with the success in the increased number of common tern numbers.
The West Midlands Bird Club, with support from South Staffs Water, had previously installed another tern raft on the reservoir. The first tern raft has proven very popular over the previous years and it is hoped that the second raft will enable numbers of common tern to really soar.
Photos by kind permission of West Midlands Bird Club.