Once Europe’s largest single dock basin, Preston Marina now enjoys a sedate life as boats and yachts bob around on the water.
It’s a haven for birdlife where there is a thriving community of common terns. These dainty little gulls, who aren’t as common as their name suggests, have taken up residence using artificial nest boxes on the marina pontoons.
Chicks have hatched and life is frantic. Parents fly some distance to go fishing. What a cacophony when they return with their catch and hungry chicks demolish their lunch. It’s a hazardous time for unprotected chicks. Herring and black back gulls are on the prowl.
The bedraggled chick went on an adventure – a heart-in-mouth time for onlookers and parent bird. Eventually s/he made it onto dry land. A born survivor.
This noisy and wonderful spectacle is thanks to the partnership of the Fylde Bird Club, Preston City Council and the RSPB. Five years ago they created artificial nests and gravel on the breakwaters of the marina in the hope of encouraging nesting common terns. And it’s paid off. After another successful breeding season, the common terns will leave these shores in late August early September. With luck many will back next April.
Preston Marina is a far cry from the bustling docklands of years gone by.