Volunteers needed to protect rare seabirds

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is looking for volunteers to protect vulnerable nesting shorebirds this summer.

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 11:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 11:54 am
Volunteers are needed to protect Little Terns at the Long Nanny site.

Little terns spend their winter on the west coast of Africa and return to Northumberland at the end of April, predominantly on the National Trust Long Nanny site at Beadnell beach and Natural England’s Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.

They nest on the beach along with other shorebirds and are very susceptible to disturbance.

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is a partnership between the National Trust, Natural England, RSPB and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which provides additional funding to the sites. With this support, extra seasonal staff help protect the sites, provide new information signs and additional fencing to enclose nesting areas.

Chantal Macleod-Nolan, Little Tern Project co-ordinator, said: “Last year we had a really good outcome with 44 pairs of little terns nesting on the Northumberland coast and 52 chicks fledging by the end of the season.

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“The terns had a difficult summer with high tides, human disturbance and persistent predators, and only persevered due to the continued efforts of nine staff and a team of 20 dedicated volunteers working around the clock across both sites. Without this hard-working team, we wouldn’t be able to protect these birds and as a result, volunteer recruitment is crucial to the little tern’s breeding success again this summer.”

Volunteers are essential for the protection ofbreeding shorebirds, as engaging beach-users about the significance of the fenced off areas and the importance for dog-walkers to keep their dogs on leads makes a huge difference to the breeding success of these birds.

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is hosting a volunteer information meeting on Friday, April 22 between 10.30am-12:30pm at the National Trust Office, Low Newton by the Sea. To book a place, email northumberlandlittleterns@gmail.com or call Natural England (01289 381470) / National Trust (01665 576874).