New nesting space created for declining birds thanks to Southern Water

Southern Water has joined the battle to boost tern numbers in the Solent, by hosting a new raft on which they can nest near Havant

Common, sandwich, little, and roseate terns are among the seabird species that used to nest widely in the Solent area – however in recent years their numbers have struggled, in part due to loss of safe places to nest.

The new raft at Budds Farm, funded and hosted by Southern Water, offers nesting space safe from predators and will move with changing water levels. Volunteers constructed the floating platform and anchored it in the lake just in time for the terns’ breeding season, as they look for somewhere to nest.

Little tern in flight

© Trevor Codlin

Similar schemes have been very successful elsewhere in boosting tern numbers, including at the Wildlife Trust’s Blashford Lakes nature reserve in the New Forest. The colony here is one of the most successful in the area, and is a stronghold for the wider population.

Chris Lycett, reserves officer at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said: “This is a perfect spot to create new space for terns. It’s only a stone’s throw away from the sea and right next to our Farlington Marshes nature reserve. Thanks to Southern Water there’s a new place for these birds to call home - and we hope to see them settle in and raise lots of chicks in the weeks and months to come.”

Carl Davies, Field Project Manager at Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works said: “We were delighted to work with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to provide a safe haven for terns to nest at our Budds Farm site. The lagoons were, historically, part of the wastewater treatment process but have been out of service for many years, as more modern methods were introduced. However, the lagoons were left in place for environmental reasons, so the new tern raft is a perfect use for them and we look forward to seeing these beautiful birds making their homes there.”

Tern raft at Budds Farm near Southmoor

© Chris Lycett