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Saturday, 18 July 2015


Although Gulls are not everyone’s cup of tea, mine included unless it’s a Med, I must admit to keeping an eye on the Gull colony at Beckton.

Nothing against Gulls but one must have their priorities, hooked beak and talons stirs the blood far more.
I have no doubt that one day the Colony will come under threat, nothing is ever left the same nowadays unfortunately.

The Beckton colony may well be one of London’s largest and possibly oldest Herring and Lesser Black Backed Colonies, I record it every year and I know Gary James covers it as well.

More recently Great Black Backed Gull has taken to nesting on or near it and given that the larger Gull preys on both species chicks; it is a bit of a surprise that they tolerate it. Much I suspect is down to outright size and aggression of the larger Gull, basically I suspect there is not a lot they can do about it.

Common Sandpiper

1st returning Teal at Beckton - June 20th

I counted the colony earlier in the year and arrived at 80 incubating Lesser Black Backed and 41 incubating Herring Gulls, the colony is pretty stable annually.
In terms of breeding birds of London it is a very important colony, and given that Herring Gull is now Red Listed even more so.
I know that Gary records it as well so his figures are likely to be different to mine, especially as we didn't count it at the same time.

The Colony - plenty of chicks/juveniles

Around a mile down river there is also another colony, a different species, Common Tern, again I dare say it is London’s largest and as I confirmed, growing.
I have blogged about this Dolphin Jetty before, for those not aware Dolphin Jetties are the small pontoons on the end of a main shipping jetty that ships use to secure to. Needless to say they make ideal nest sites with the old ropes on them that never move, they are also not accessed.

Over the last few years I have been trying to get them recognized officially, the power that be are obviously a little concerned but with the help of the London Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency forward momentum is increasing.

Main Dolphin  and breeding Jetty

This year the colony topped out at 39 incubating Common Terns and for the first time, they used the adjacent Dolphin Jetty adjacent to the main one.

New colony - expanding naturally, they breed in amongst the old rope

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Imagine if other unused/derelict Dolphins were shingled out, there is potential there to increase Common Tern breeding further along the Thames.

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