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2013 Natural England Scroby Sands Little Tern Sternula Albifrons use of Scroby Sands Offshore Wind Farm

2013 Natural England Scroby Sands Little Tern Sternula Albifrons use of Scroby Sands Offshore Wind Farm

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Description

The overall aim of this project was to assess the current use of Scroby Sands Offshore Wind Farm by the Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) and the associated risk of collision that this poses. The study was to inform the management of Great Yarmouth North Denes Special Protection Area (SPA) and its designated population of Little terns, with the icnreased incidence of nesting on the main bank of Scroby Sands first noted in 2010, rather than on the mainland beach at North Denes. Eight boat-based surveys over a route of 46 km incorporating 10.3 km within the wind farm, utilising snapshots for flying terns every 250m were performed approximately every two weeks from early May to mid August 2013. The mean density surface produced by kernel density estimation showed concentration of Little Terns around the former colony at North Denes in association with the higher fish densities, and also at the southern end of Scroby Sands. The latter reflected the use of the main bank as a breeding site. The first nesting attempt by about 33 pairs of Little Terns in mid-June was unsuccessful as a result of a high tide in late June. Re-nesting occurred with a peak of 70 nests by mid-July. Most nests appear to have failed although a few juveniles (perhaps up to 9) may have fledged over the course of the season. Otherwise. the main colony of the East Norfolk Little Tern population in 2013 was located at Winterton. The relatively small and fluctuating Little Tern population on Scroby Sands with no evidence of nesting at North Denes or Caister was reflected in the lack of use of the offshore wind farm, with no Little terns recorded in snapshots during the surveys, and only a single record outside of snapshots. As a result there was no predicted collision risk for Little Terns with the offshore wind farm in 2013. Although the actual risk cannot be truly quantified until sampling is conducted in a season when Little Terns nest at Scroby Sands in large numbers. Further sampling is therefore recommended.

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Little Tern Sternula Albifrons use of Scroby Sands Offshore Wind Farm in 2013