Thursday 19 October 2023

Goose festival update!

 Sadly due to Storm Babet we have had no other option than to cancel Saturdays events. Currently Sunday is looking like a much better day so these events will go ahead as planned.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Shorebird Awareness Week! 10th - 14th April

The Shorebird season is coming... In order to raise awareness of these vulnerable birds we will be running a week full of fun events from crafts and games to shorebird safaris and even creating a giant sand art picture with local sand art organisation Soul2sands. Below is the listing of the events throughout next week. All events are free but donations are welcome! For more information about any of our events you can contact or phone the Reserve office on 01289381470.

Shorebirds are birds that breed, feed and roost on the beach. Ringed Plovers are already beginning to set up territory on the beaches and Little Terns will soon arrive back from west Africa to begin nesting on the Reserve. In the next few weeks you will see fencing erected to provide extra protection for these vulnerable birds from disturbance and predators. It is important to remember that shorebirds can nest outside the fenced areas so please be vigilant when walking along the beach.

Tuesday 28 February 2023

2022 Weather in review

 The weather in 2022 was characterised by prolonged periods of dry weather resulting in a large shortfall in average annual rainfall. Summer temperatures were also anomalously high. The year was brought to a close with a short sharp cold snap resulting in several days of ice cover across the Reserve. It should be noted that the long-term averages are taken from Boulmer as this is closest place with a reliable long-term data set. Lindisfarne will have a slightly different micro-climate but the rainfall, temperature and wind should be broadly comparable.


Right from the outset 2022 was dry. January recorded just 11.6mm of rainfall; far below the average of 58.07. As can be seen from figure 1; once the shortfall of rainfall began it never recovered with 10 out of 12 months being drier than average. This resulted in a 217.4mm rainfall deficit in 2022 or just 68.4% of annual average rainfall. This had a profound effect on the NNR with many slacks drying out and remaining dry throughout the rest of the year even when rainfall increased at the back end of the year, indicating that the water table was extremely low and struggling to recharge. Many of the orchid species came through late or not at all. Species that did emerge were often stunted and scorched due to lack of available water. The dunes experienced two separate wildfires; one in April and a second occurring in July. This is unprecedented as the preceeding 20 years only had a single occurrence. Whilst the fires were likely to have originated from human activity the dune grassland had to be in a tinderbox state for the fires to spread as readily as they did. Luckily when the fires occurred the wind was light and the robust NNR wildfire action plan meant that the fires were put out quickly and losses amounted to 2 acres of dune grassland.



Thankfully after storm Arwen in November 2021; the wind in 2022 was kind to us. February was the windiest month with gusts regularly exceeding 40mph and peaking over 60mph. After February high pressure was in charge for extended periods leaving the Reserve with settled, calm conditions. The wind rose below shows the prevailing wind throughout 2022 was westerly/south-westerly as would be expected across the UK. Northerly winds were a rarity but there was frequent bout of south-easterlies. This aided the impressive shorebird productivity this season with generally light winds resulting in little sand blow and minimal swell during spring tides.

Wind rose showing the prevailing wind direction during 2022 


Lindisfarne NNR never experiences extremes of temperature due to its position nestled up against the North Sea. The sea forms a warming blanket in the winter and a cooling effect in the summer, meaning generally milder conditions prevail.

The UK saw record breaking temperatures this summer, topping 40 celcius in three separate locations but Holy Island still experienced several days above 26 celcius peaking at 27.7 celcius on the 19th July. Temperatures were higher on the mainland with temperatures in the low 30’s experienced widely along the Northumberland coast. Night-time temperatures hovered at a sweltering 17/18 celcius for three consecutive nights making it feel more like a night on the Costa del Sol!

  Temperature (Red) and barometer trace (Grey) from Saturday 16th – Friday 22nd July 2022

On the other end of the scale in December we experienced a notable cold snap. The winds were generally from the north-west and not out of the east so the Reserve didn’t experience significant snowfall but it was so cold that ice was freely forming on the causeway and many of the paths were covered in a thick sheet of ice for over a week. The lowest temperature of the year was recorded on the 13th December when the temperature bottomed out at -7.4 Celcius early in the morning. The temperature then didn’t exceed 0 Celcius all day making it the first ‘ice day’ since the weather
station was installed in November 2021.

December on the Reserve. Temperature is Red and barometer trace is grey

The temperature then rebounded by the 19th and remained above average until the end of the year. The temperature range for the year was 35.1 Celcius.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Merry Christmas!


Shorebird Season Review

As 2022 come to an end we feel it is the perfect opportunity to thank all those that came and visited the Reserve and respected the shorebirds refuge areas. The breeding shorebirds had a fantastic season with 38 Little Terns pairs and 26 Ringed Plovers nesting and successfully raising 49 and 33 chicks respectively. 

This year we had 5 seasonal wardens and a wildlife warden funded through the EU Life WADER project. This is more staff presence than we have ever had before and alongside our passionate volunteers; directly contributed to the increase in productivity this season. Having more feet on the ground meant they were able to closely monitor the progress of the shorebirds and directly engage with thousands of visitors to the Reserve.

Ringed Plover surveys were carried out early in the season by staff and volunteers to establish early breeding territories across the Reserve.

Adult Ringed Plover

Ringed Plovers lay eggs directly onto the sand and are extremely vulnerable to disturbance. (Photograph taken under licence)

From April the Shorebird Protection Areas and refuges were installed at 5 different area across the Reserve. It quickly became apparent that there were two distinct Little Tern colonies. One at the Ross Sands and one at Goswick. This is the first time they have attempted to nest at Goswick in a number of years. We fenced off a large protection area giving the birds plenty of room to nest. Unfortunately, at Ross Sands the Little Terns never properly settled at their usual location and a loose dog that ran through the colony for nearly an hour with no owner in sight was the nail in the coffin. Fortunately, the birds relocated to the south of Ross Sands. Protection areas were quickly installed and the number of nesting birds grew steadily within this quiet area as visitors were guided away from the colony and the wardens were able to show them the birds form a safe distance.

Once the Little Tern and Ringed Plover chicks hatched, the foreshore areas directly in front of the colonies were fenced off. This was due to the chicks being very mobile when they hatch. Ringed Plovers can run as soon as they are out the egg and will spend all day running from the foreshore to the top of the beach while the parents try and keep them all together and teach them to feed in the wet sand below the high tide line. Little Terns will also bring their chicks down to the foreshore. This is a critical time. At this stage the chicks are unable to fly and so are incredibly vulnerable to disturbance. Thankfully, most people respected the protection zones and were very considerate and understanding of the protection areas and nesting shorebirds.

Litte Terns courtship feeding

Luckily the weather gods were in our favour this summer as there was no strong storms and the spring tides were relatively low meaning that no wash outs of scrapes occurred. Having more wardens meant that we were able to engage with more people than ever before, welcoming visitors to the Reserve and talking about the plight of the Shorebirds that use the coast. Unfortunately, breeding Ringed Plover numbers have dropped by 65% nationwide in just 30 years and this has been echoed here at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve; putting Ringed Plovers on the Red list. The main factors for the declines are habitat loss and increased recreational pressure on the coast. The protection areas and refuges are a vital part of the protection of Ringed Plovers and other shorebird species, allowing birds space to breed, feed and roost as well as accomodating many different species of birds migrating through at the start of spring and end of summer. Due to the Shorebird protection scheme at Lindisfarne NNR we have managed to largely halt declines and see impressive productivity when weather and tides don't interfere. Below are the shorebird numbers across the Reserve this season.

LNNR total site

Little Tern

Ringed Plover


Total Scrape




Peak Scrape Count




Total Eggs




Total Chicks




Total fledged








We would like to thank all our seasonal staff and volunteers who dedicated their summers to protecting the shorebird colonies and engaging with thousands of people and making this season so successful.