Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Lindisfarne NNR's shorebird protection scheme

We welcomed back Chantal Macleod-Nolan who is working with us on the Northumberland Little Tern Project which has been running for 2 years. Here is the first of her blogs which is looking at the previous season and how we are starting to prepare for the return of our breeding birds.

Spring is here with Easter eggs and baby lambs. As the weather gets warmer, Lindisfarne NNR and other similar sites such as The National Trust at Long Nanny are busy with preparations for the ongoing protection of endangered little terns and other sensitive breeding shorebirds including ringed plovers and oystercatchers.  Little terns overwinter on the west coast of Africa and shall arrive to our lovely coastline at the end of April where they will begin nesting in early May. These rare birds nest on the beach along with other shorebirds and are very susceptible to disturbance.
Electric fencing on the beach

The Northumberland Little Tern Project continues to improve and build on the efforts of the previous year by contributing funds to extend Lindisfarne NNR's shorebird protection scheme including additional fencing to enclose nesting areas. Last year we used approximately 2.5km on Lindisfarne NNR of blue exterior rope in addition to 1km of electric wire and 1.5km mesh netting.
Extra information signs were designed and put up in 2015, including the EU LIFE Little Tern panels across the sites and we also had approximately 40 temporary information signs across the sites informing the public how they can help by putting dogs on leads or avoiding certain areas.
Keep an eye out for our signs on the beach letting you know areas to avoid during the summer.

Last year, we had 44 little tern pairs nesting on the Northumberland Coast with 52 fledglings by the end of the season. It was a good summer with terns surviving some high tides and persistent predators, however numbers were less than in 2014, where we had 65 pairs and 87 fledged. Despite lower individual birds Lindisfarne had the highest productivity figures on the coast. Who knows what this 2016 season will bring?


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