THE SKERRIES SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST
SITE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
What is ‘special’ about The Skerries SSSI?
The Skerries has 2 special features:
Breeding arctic tern
Roseate terns present, occasionally breeding
As well as the features listed above, The Skerries has other habitats that contribute to the special interest. These include maritime grassland, characterised by common scurvey-grass, lesser sea-spurrey, red fescue and common sorrel, inter-tidal rocks and pools and low maritime cliff with associated ledges and crevices. Of particular interest are species-rich sediment-floored rockpools and the small cushion star. This diversity of habitats supports other species including a breeding bird assemblage (arctic tern, common tern, oystercatcher, lesser black-backed gull, greater black-backed gull, puffin, herring Gull, shag, rock pipit), breeding and visiting grey seals, and these too are a key component of the special interest of the site. Unless specified below, management of this site should aim to look after these habitats and species as well as the listed features of interest.
The site should contribute to the network of tern breeding sites within the Irish Sea and more locally along the coast of Anglesey. Its integrity as a breeding site for all tern species should be maintained, primarily by keeping it free from mammalian predators and minimising avian predators. This should occur even in years when one or more of the nesting species fails to be present. The integrity of the tern colony is dependant upon off-site factors, such as availability of food, the presence of alternative nesting sites in adverse years within the Irish Sea and the integrity of their winter migration sites.
The site should provide the opportunity for roseate terns to nest. As they tend to nest in established tern colonies, usually associated with common terns, the maintenance of a viable common and arctic tern colony is imperative.
The presence of the other breeding bird species should be maintained. However as nesting terns can suffer predation from nesting gulls, it is essential that the two colonies be protected from conflict. Breeding and immature gulls can be particularly successful predators of tern colonies. Even if separation between the gull and tern population is achieved, it may be necessary to control individuals that are exerting particularly severe predation pressure.
The island’s grey seal colony could be adversely affected by disturbance during autumn pupping and should be protected from excessive human disturbance during this period.
What management is needed on The Skerries SSSI and why?
Although The Skerries is an excellent place for wildlife it will only remain so if the necessary management continues. CCW’s aim is to work with you to ensure that this management is carried out.
What does this mean in practice?
There are many factors that could damage the special features at The Skerries if they are not properly managed. These are the ones we regard as most important:
There are a number of off-site factors that have the potential to significantly impact on the features of this site. These factors are highlighted below
Our knowledge of wildlife is far from complete. It is possible that new features of value may appear and new management issues may arise in the future, whilst other issues may disappear. This statement is written with the best information we have now, but may have to change in the future as our understanding improves. Any information you can provide on the wildlife of your site, its management and its conservation would be much appreciated.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your SSSI, or have any concerns about your SSSI, please contact your local CCW office.
Your local office is;
Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru/Countryside Council for Wales
Llys y Bont,
Ffordd y Parc,
Gwynedd, LL57 4BN,
Fax: 01248 679259