Mouse over links for pictures; click for detail page.

Terns are elegant, long-winged birds of sea and coast. Common terns nest in coastal colonies and also on artificial islands on reservoirs. They migrate in autumn to the west coast of Africa and return in march. Their cousin the arctic tern breeds in the north and is an uncommon visitor to inland reservoirs during migration.

Little tern is an endangered species due to disturbance on its favoured nesting site, exposed shingle beaches. Breeding is attempted each year at a number of Essex sites, with mixed success. They arrive to breed in April to May and leave again July to October.

Sandwich terns nest colonially on islands and are usually seen on the Essex coast from July congregating on sand/shingle spits. They migrate south in August to October and return in March.

Black terns are freshwater marsh birds breeding in Europe on well vegetated lakes and marshes. They visit the Essex coast and inland reservoirs on migration, sometimes in large numbers.

© Alan Williams