New breeding season of common terns

Since 2017, a population of common terns has been nesting on the floating bird nesting island in the Dow's scouring basin along Savoyaardsweg. Those common terns are not there all year, as they migrate to the African coast in winter to hibernate. Every year, they return at the end of April. And according to Cees van Houwelingen, Operations Regulatory Services Leader at Dow, they have done everything possible to give the common terns a warm welcome again: “In January, we went out in a boat on a Saturday morning to clear the island of weeds. It was fun: nature volunteering that helps to get the common terns back on the island for the breeding season.” 

Away from the foxes
The actual reason the island was constructed was because of unsuccessful nature compensation on the mussel beds. Cees: “A kind of bird island had been built there, but there was never any great breeding success. That's because those mussel beds are so high that it wasn't really an island but a mound. The foxes that were able to get there from the Braakman robbed that empty.” The question then was what could we change to still achieve breeding success? “This floating breeding island was a concept that had been successfully tested elsewhere, so we decided to construct such an island in the scouring basin.” 

Less nuisance, more enjoyment
If all goes well, the people of Terneuzen will also notice something, since there will be less nuisance from the common terns in the city center. Cees explains: “If we give them a good place to breed, they don't have to sit on the roof of the Rabobank. Later, the municipality of Terneuzen also placed an island on the other side of Terneuzen and that also became a success. So by offering them a suitable place, the nuisance in the city center is also reduced, which is a nice side effect.” But how do we know when the common terns have returned? Cees has also thought about that: “The people who have an eye for it walk past and can see the island from the cycle path. Almost every week, I go there on my racing bike or I take a walk through the Braakman and then I look to see if there is life yet. And once they are there, they stay for the whole summer season, until October approximately, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the spectacle. I'll keep you posted!” \

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Listen to the Podcast with Anton van Beek

Listen to the Podcast via the link below, in which Maikel Harte talks to Anton van Beek about the sustainable ambition of Dow Terneuzen.