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AONB: Chichester Harbour

Tern Rafts

Tern species breeding in Chichester Harbour have a very limited number of sites on which to breed, and those sites are often threatened by tidal flooding, predation or human disturbance; all 2017 nesting attempts failed. To address this, in 2018 Chichester Harbour Conservancy AONB team installed a series of tern rafts and terns were using them within 3 days of the rafts being floated. The picture shows a web cam image of the terns on the raft.

Common terns are on the UK Amber list, showing a general decline in population in recent years. Tern species breeding in Chichester Harbour have a very limited number of sites on which to breed, and those sites are often threatened by tidal flooding, predation or human disturbance. Tern rafts have the potential to provide much needed safe, secure nesting sites and have been proven to work well in Sussex, Hampshire and elsewhere in the UK.

In 2018, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, the management body for the AONB, identified several sites where tern rafts could be floated, thereby providing a new and secure habitat for terns. The rafts, which are 3 metres by 5 metres, were built by the Conservancy’s Rangers and Volunteer Rangers, under the guidance of the Ecologist. They are made from recycled plastic sheets (‘stokboard’), covered with a geo textile and a layer of shingle/sand mix.