Pupils do their bit to attract terns

Little tern at nest, wing stretching after incubating.

Little tern at nest, wing stretching after incubating.

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Pupils from Lowick and Holy Island First Schools have repainted little tern decoys that were placed on the island’s north shore to try to attract little terns to nest in areas identified as having great potential to become breeding grounds.

The Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve team will continue to monitor these areas closely to detect interested birds and prevent disturbance.

While out wardening, the team chat to visitors and inform them of how they can help to protect the sites and avoid disturbing the breeding birds.

Remember to be aware of ground nesting birds when you are walking on the NNR and shores nearby, and please observe notices and access restrictions. It is particularly important to keep dogs on a lead around breeding bird areas.

It is all part of a major new five-year partnership project which has been established to help secure the future of little terns in the UK.

Little terns, the smallest of the tern species in the UK, could become a victim of climate change as rising seas and increased coastal flooding squeeze our coastline.

The dainty little birds, which are no heavier than a tennis ball, return each April to breed on beaches at fewer than 60 sites around the UK.

Traditional colonies at South Gare on the Tees and Donna Nook in Lincolnshire have already been lost, a development which makes protecting traditional breeding sites at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve and Beadnell Bay all the more important.

Supported by the EU LIFE+ programme, the new project will lay foundations for long-term recovery of the little tern by protecting and creating nest sites and increasing public awareness and support.

A local partnership made up of Natural England, the National Trust, the RSPB and the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership has recruited Mhairi Maclauchlan as regional co-ordinator for Northumberland.

She will work with local communities and beach-goers along the Northumberland coast to educate them about little terns.

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