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Contributors » Peter Armitage » Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) discovered by Peter Armitage (#798)

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Sighting Info

Observed: June 21, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Posted on: June 26, 2012 @ 9:38 AM (diff: 5 days)
Common terns nest on this little grass covered island at the entrance to Saltons Cove, Goose Bay, Bonavista Bay, between Brooklyn and Portland. I estimate the population to be about 100 birds at the moment. I've seen them nesting here for three consecutive years (which is when we first purchased a house in the area). Observed from kayak. The terns fish up and down the shoreline including towards Jamestown Head. Most importantly they like to fish in the shallow waters of Saltons Cove, including what appears on the topo maps as "Lovers Cove" which is not a locally used toponym. Saltons (see Gordon Handcock's article on the origins of this toponym) is shallow with several dozen rocks and tiny islets that emerge at lower tides. The "Lovers Cove" section is protected from SW winds and is stuffed with eel (goose) grass and weeds. Saltons Brook empties into the southern end of the cove. The eel grass provides the wonderful 3-dimensional habitat that is so important in "nursery" areas around our coast. I observed an abundance of Mytilis edulis spat on the fronds of the eel grass. The spat appear to float over to a shoal area joining the mainland to Saltons Islands (2 of them) and then rocky, sandy areas nearby where they mature. This is a good mussel bed area, relatively free of sewage pollution, according to local environmental knowledge experts. In my humble opinion, Saltons Cove is an important nursery area for this part of Bonavista Bay; worth checking out some more. Some new house construction in a grassy field very close to the tern nesting area makes me nervous. Hopefully, this relatively new human presence will not excessively disturb the terns. Lobster fishers from Cannings Cove had some pots out in the vicinity of the nesting island when I passed by on the 21st.

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Comments by Site Members (scroll to post comment)

By Peter Armitage on 8/2/2012 9:08:05 PM

I passed by the little grass covered island yesterday evening at about 7:00 pm (1 Aug. 2012). The terns appear to have vacated the island. When do tern young fledge? They're still about because I saw them fishing along the shore and resting on small rocks at high tide.

By NL Explorer on 6/18/2013 7:18:30 AM

Are they still nesting there?

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