sandwich terns on the beach


More info: The webcam shows a colony of breeding terns. Managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, the lagoon plays an important role as birds start to arrive back from their breeding grounds up north.

The sandwich terns at Brownsea Island usually arrive back at the end of April/beginning of May and start prospecting the small man-made islands straight away to look for the perfect nesting area. Over the years the number of pairs has varied but on average there are usually 210+ pairs of Sandwich Terns and 100+ pairs of Common Tern.

Sandwich Terns are so called because of the name of the place they were first identified in - namely the town of Sandwich in Kent. They are also known as Cabot's Terns. Sandwich terns easily identified by their very white colour with a black cap, yellow-tipped black bill and short black legs.

In the United Kingdom, sandwich terns are found along the coasts in North Norfolk, Suffolk, and Dungeness, Kent, with many of the major colonies being found on nature reserves. Sandwich Terns inhabit seacoasts, bays, estuaries, and mudflats; but may also be found out on the ocean.

Sandwich terns are ground breeders and scrape out a nest in the earth. To protect their nests from being washed away they will defecate directly on the rim of the nest. Once the faeces dries, it "cements" the nest together in case of flooding or heavy rains.

The female usually only lays 1 egg, sometimes two and rarely three. The parents share the incubation of the eggs, which takes about 25 - 31 days.