Making space for birds on Northumberland beach

A ringed plover on the beach. Credit: Richard Dunn.
A ringed plover on the beach. Credit: Richard Dunn.

Northumberland County Council has joined forces with conservationists to provide a safe place for birds to nest in an area of beach at Druridge Bay in Northumberland.

As beaches get busier, shorebirds such as ringed plovers, oystercatchers and terns jostle for space with beach users and their dogs, and it can be difficult for them to find a safe place to nest and raise their chicks.

The council has fenced off a small area of Druridge Bay, near Druridge Bay Country Park, and hopes that excluding people and dogs from this area during the summer will allow shorebirds to colonise and successfully fledge their young.

A grant from the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club has paid for the fencing materials. Club chairman Martin Davidson said: “This part of Druridge Bay should be an ideal nesting area for shorebirds such as plovers and terns but they won’t nest here if they are regularly disturbed by people and dogs. Druridge Bay is eight miles long, so we believe there is enough room for people and wildlife to share the beach.”

Mike Jeffrey, countryside and green spaces manager at the county council, added: “We have fenced off an area of foreshore about the size of a football pitch on Druridge Bay and the fence will be in place during the summer months when birds return to the shore to nest. The area will be regularly monitored by volunteers, who will be checking how successful we have been in attracting birds. We are very grateful to Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club and to the Northumberland Little Tern Project for their support with this project.”

This work complements measures already in place at the Long Nanny Burn in Beadnell Bay and at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, to protect shorebird colonies.

Visitors to Druridge Bay are asked to keep dogs well away from the fenced area, to avoid disturbing any birds that might be nesting.

Anyone interested in volunteering over the summer or who has any questions about the project, should call in at the visitor centre at Druridge Bay Country Park or phone the centre on 01670 760968.