One of Suffolk’s rarest breeding birds, the Sandwich Tern, may be making a comeback after breeding successfully this year at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve for the first time in almost 40 years.
The Sandwich Tern is a very white ‘sea tern’ with a black cap and bill with a yellow tip, which distinguish it from other terns. It feeds mainly on sandeels and small fish, and many of its surviving UK breeding colonies are on nature reserves.
Before the 1970s, a large colony of Sandwich Terns nested on Minsmere’s famous ‘Scrape’ – a shallow manmade lagoon dotted with islands – but since the last successful nesting attempt in 1978 they have only tried to nest occasionally and without success, until now.
This year, seven pairs of Sandwich Terns settled to breed on the East Scrape, successfully rearing four chicks so far. They are thought to be the only Sandwich Terns to breed in Suffolk this year.