Little Tern – 2006

Sternula albifronsMôr-wennol FechanScarce passage migrant. Not recorded from December to March or July

Little Terns breed from Britain eastwards into Europe and central Asia and south as far as North Africa and India. They nest on both sides of the Irish Sea and along the west coast of Scotland with just one colony in Wales, post 1989, in Flintshire. Those seen in Pembrokeshire probably originate from these Irish and west coast colonies.

The Little Tern was considered to be an occasional passage migrant by Mathew (1894) and Lockley et al (1949), whereas Donovan and Rees (1994), with the benefit of increased observer cover, concluded it was a scarce passage migrant seen in most years.

Little Terns have been recorded around the coast at Fishguard, Strumble Head, Abermawr, St David’s Head, Solva, Newgale, Broad Haven (North), Skomer, Skokholm, St Govan’s Head, Tenby and Caldey, further out to sea at Grassholm and The Smalls, inside the Teifi and Nevern Estuaries and within the extensive Cleddau Estuary  at the Gann, West Williamston and Picton Point. All were seen over salt water except for singles at Bosherston on the 31st August 1937 and on the 8th September 1993

Spring – There have been only 15 records in the spring, between 14th April and 24th June, having been seen eight times in April, three times in May and four times in June. All were occurrences of one or two birds at a time except for six in Solva Harbour on the 8th May 1916.

Autumn – The Little Tern has predominantly been seen in the autumn, between 30th July and 6th November. There has been about an equal volume of records for August and September, with fewer in October and just one July occurrence, at The Smalls on the 30th, and singles were seen Tenby on 6th November 1961 and Skokholm on 1st and 6th November 1980. Most records were of one to three birds at a time but larger groups have been seen on 17 occasions, the largest being 23 at Skomer on the 17th September 1992.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Little Tern in Pembrokeshire