Last week I headed down to Tices Meadow to help the Bird Group move three Tern Rafts with our boat out to moorings in the lake. The purpose built rafts provide nesting sites with a reduced risk of predation from species such as Mink, and are also easy to keep an eye on. We use similar Tern Rafts at other sites along the valley, including Moor Green Lakes, where they are used by Terns and Black-Headed Gulls.
Ollie was courageously volunteered by his colleagues to help me on the boat, but his conviction was put to the test when he learnt our mighty Bic boat was built by the same people who make plastic pens.
We collected the first tern raft which had a worrying tilt, and towed it to shore where Richard, Mark and Pete got to work repairing it. Meanwhile we moved two new Tern Rafts out to moor them in the lake, directed by dramatic pointing from the shore to find the ideal spots.
Finally we returned the now restored original Tern Raft back into position, finding our not-so-subtle pushing technique worked well. Ollie installed plastic pipe tunnels on the rafts and two of the islands to provide shelter for the chicks from the sun and avian predators.
Thank you to the volunteers for a fantastic productive day mucking around in boats. I look forward to hearing how the rafts get on.
Senior Ranger Stuart