The Little Tern
Our smallest Tern species is the Little Tern which travels each April to breed at fewer than 60 sites nationally. After navigating its way from the depths of Africa to our shores the Little Terns story is not over. It has to find its place amongst the busy beaches, which is becoming increasingly difficult with climate change and coastal development.
An example of a potential Little Tern breeding site, complete with decoys and a lure that plays Little Tern calls
It is because of the threats to their survival that a national partnership project supported by EU LIFE+ programme has been established. What does this mean for Northumberland? With strong established colonies right here on the coast we have been included within the project. Natural England, National Trust, Northumberland AONB partnership and the RSPB have formed a partnership and recruited a project worker to work between established sites and any new satellite sites where ever they may crop up. This includes the Northumberland SPA from Low Newton through to LNNR and potentially further afield. The project is running nationally for 5 years and 3 years in Northumberland.
With the first sightings of our early arriving Sandwich Tern last week, it won’t be long before the breeding season gets fully underway. Everyone can help Little Terns and shore nesting birds on the Northumberland Coast. If you are visiting Holy Island or any of our brilliant beaches over the summer, you can help by keeping dogs on leads and take note of any signs or fenced off areas where shore birds may be breeding.
This is how the shore bird sites will look once the fencing and signs are up
But wait there are more ways to help! We are currently recruiting volunteers to help survey new shore bird sites as well as wardens for established areas. Any help is appreciated whether you can give a large or small amount of your time. If you want more information or have any sightings, please get in touch on 07768310629
I hope to write regular updates for the blog and keep everyone up to date with the project as the season goes on.
Mhairi MaclauchlanProject Co-ordinator EU LIFE+ - Little Tern Recovery Project Northumberland