Increase in terns, drop in Eider ducks at Forvie

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WORKERS at Forvie Nature Reserve have revealed that while the visiting terns have fledged well this year, the number of surviving Eider Ducks has dropped considerably.

The success of nesting birds at Forvie National Nature Reserve this summer has been largely credited to the thoughtful behaviour of visitors to the internationally important site, which includes the Ythan Estuary at Newburgh.

Manager Annabel Drysdale told the Times that monitoring the ducks’ numbers had revealed the drop in successful hatchings for the species.

“The Eider ducks have not fared so well and we are concerned about the future of this colony.” she said. “Rough counts by reserve staff showed that fewer pairs of these sea ducks nested than expected, although the reason is still unknown. Research will continue in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen through student projects to try to determine the cause of the ducks’ decline.”

Meanwhile, it was a good year for the tern species at Forvie, as over 600 Sandwich Terns and nearly 700 Common and Arctic Terns fledged from nests in sand dunes close to the mouth of the Ythan estuary at Newburgh. The area is closed off to the public during the nesting season in order to prevent birds being disturbed.

Annabel added: “We are grateful to everyone who visited and kept to the recommended routes this summer. The terns have done well this year, raising thousands of young birds that will now migrate to Africa and beyond this winter.”

If you would like to become more involved with Forvie, Annabel is inviting anyone who can help to the autumn beach clean, which will take place on Sunday September 11, between 10 am and 3 pm. Meet at Waterside car park on the A975 north of Newburgh or for more information, please telephone (01358) 751330.