The tern rafts

terns on raft
tern raft
tern chicks
cleaning raft

On 20th April 2013 Ely Wildspace volunteers spent the morning installing two purpose-built tern rafts on Roswell Pits. Common terns arrive each spring from Africa to feed in the Roswell area, but seem to breed several miles upstream. By providing them with suitable habitat we hope these artificial islands will boost the population of these fantastic birds by enabling them to nest in Ely as well.

The rafts were made for us by local company K and K Mouldings using a mould from Lincs WT (organised by Natural England), and funded through an extremely generous grant from the Clark Bradbury Charitable Trust. Many thanks to everyone who gave up their time to help with the launch, as well to the Environment Agency for logistical support.

Amazingly, the first two terns seen in 2013 at Roswell arrived as the rafts were towed out into the Pits. It took a couple of year for the terns to move in though, and in 2015 we had our first chicks. The terns returned in 2016 and 2017. Hopefully they'll be back in 2018.

Volunteers from Ely wildspace clean the rafts every April. Geese, black headed gulls, mallards and other birds use these rafts and leave them in a mess. We therefore need to clean up the bird mess, old nest material, and replace a fresh layer of gravel before the terns return.

Protecting and enhancing Ely's wild spaces