AN INTERESTING discovery was made when the arrival of a bird that hadn’t been seen before landed at Gronant dunes.

Over the last couple of weeks members of North Wales Little Tern Group have been looking out for colour-ring birds on the beach.

A bird - with a combination of rings not seen before - was spotted.

The University of Aveiro was contacted and it was discovered the diminutive seabird was ringed in Portugal in September 2018, as a juvenile on migration.

It is believed that this is the first Portuguese-ringed Little Tern to be seen in the UK.

Henry Cook, media officer at the North Wales Little Tern Group, said: “We contacted the University of Aveiro, who use the type of rings we saw, and they informed us that the bird was ringed near Lisbon in September 2018.

“Reading the unique codes on the tiny rings is very challenging work but so rewarding when we discover new information like this.

“The North Wales Little Tern Group are really pleased to spot this bird on Gronant beach as it fills in another piece of the puzzle about where these birds go after leaving North Wales.

“We had suspected they flew past Portugal on their way to Africa, hugging the coast, now we know they do.”

Gronant is the only site in Wales where Little Terns breed.

This season has been described as 'tricky' for the birds.

Most of the first round of nests were lost in a storm in early June. About 80 pairs relaid.

Since the eggs hatched, ringers have confirmed more than 50 chicks in the colony but a lot of these are being lost to sand-blow and 'intense' Kestrel predation.

Now travel restrictions have been relaxed, people can again visit the colony. Visitors are asked not get too close and to give the birds space.

If anyone would like to get involved with efforts to conserve and study Little Terns, search North Wales Little Tern Group on Facebook.