Peel Ports assist volunteers in improving nesting areas at Hunterston Lagoon and Dorothy Island

04 June 2021

At Hunterston Parc, part of  Peel Ports Clydeport site, there is a lagoon and island which is managed in partnership with the North Ayrshire RSPB group.  The island is known by the local community as Dorothy’s Island, and named after one of the volunteers who was involved with the site.

A local group made up of volunteers have been looking after the site for a number of years, making improvements to the site and habitats and recording the species visiting the area. Peel Ports Group further assisted with nesting improvements by supplying stone chips for the volunteers to barrow down and portage across to the island.

Susan Montgomerie, a local resident, has been recording at the site since 2005, taking observations on bird activity. These observations show a great attention to detail and help to showcase the sort of data that is available and collected by teams of volunteers up and down the country.  

After reviewing Susan’s observations, Alex Pepper, Group Head of Environment at Peel Ports Group, discussed the notes about the lack of Sandwich Terns on that day.  Susan commented that the terns ‘could be further down the Clyde following fish (predominately sand eels) and therefore might be out of range and also that recent weather might have had an impact.  

Susan went on to comment that in her first 5 years of recording there were no sightings of Sandwich Terns until May 2010.  Since then there have been recordings of different numbers and some of the terns from the site have been tagged.   This tagging is done in conjunction with the Clyde Ringing Group who should be back on site later this month for another round of ringing.

The records from the tagged birds from Dorothy’s Island have shown that these little birds make some amazing journeys.  Some of the birds tagged in 2016 have been spotted in the last twelve months in various countries.  There are also sightings of Sandwich Tern chicks from the island making it all the way to South Africa. The photo of E27 is an example of a chick that made this journey as an adult.   Peel Ports will be keeping in contact with Susan and the team on further news on the sandwich terns this year.