Wednesday, 14 May 2014

14th May: Northumberland Little Tern Recovery Project update

The EU Life Little Tern project in Northumberland is well underway. With shore birds all up the coast pairing up and making nests I thought this would be a great time for a project update. With news from another of our partners further South the first sightings of little terns came through. Exciting stuff as our very own birds were seen on the 13th of April – an extremely early sighting compared to previous years. With more and more sightings of this amazing sea bird coming through they are starting to look towards their nesting grounds. You may see them feeding along the coast in rock pools or out to sea and hear their call over head as you enjoy the beach. The RSPB website has a great page all about the little tern.

Photo by C. Redgate
Partners all across the project will be going through the same process. Waiting to see when and how many birds return with many erecting electric fences to help give the birds the best chance without disturbed from predators. Wardening schemes will be starting much like the National Trust here on the coast at Beadnell. Wardens spending 24hrs a day monitoring and protecting terns and shore birds. The national EU Life+ project itself involves 11 partner organisations and it is hoped that it will lay the foundations for the long-term recovery of the little tern in the UK by increasing numbers of breeding pairs and productivity, identifying long-term plans for conservation and increasing public awareness and support.

What an exciting time of year it is on the Northumberland Coast! Like my previous blog the emphasis here is on getting help from you the beach goers. Now the birds are trying to make claim to their own small slice of the Northumberland beach they need our full support. If you are a regular on the coast you may notice about this time of year little areas of the beach are enclosed using fencing. Well, these are prime shore bird areas which need our help to make them even more suitable. The fences do this by helping make sure unsuspecting walkers (and dogs) don’t accidentally tread on any nests or scare birds away. Again you can help by taking note of any signs on the beach, keeping dogs to heel or ideally on the lead and staying clear of our fenced areas. 

An example of one of the signs that are placed around the restricted shorebird areas

Below is a section of fencing from a previous blog post to show what they look like.

As before please send in any sightings and if you want to help out on the project then get in touch.


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