It has been another successful breeding season for Common Terns at East India Dock Basin. Nine young terns have fledged from the raft, which, while not quite matching last year’s 11-15, is the second best total in recent years. This was despite poor weather in May leading to a complete failure of all the early nesting attempts. About six pairs nested again in June, and five of these were eventually successful, producing four broods of two young and one single.
We are not aware that terns nested anywhere else in Tower Hamlets this year. The rafts on Blackwall Basin were too overgrown, so they didn’t nest there. However, terns carrying fish were observed over the docks on the Isle of Dogs, so it’s possible they nested somewhere in the West India or Millwall Docks. New rafts are due to be placed in these docks soon by developers working with the Canal & River Trust, which will increase the options available to nesting terns.
Header photo: juvenile (foreground) and adult Common Terns at East India Dock Basin (John Archer)