Northumberland volunteers needed to protect rare seabird

A little tern and chick.
A little tern and chick.

Nature-loving volunteers in Northumberland are needed this summer to help reverse the fortunes of one of the UK’s rarest seabirds.

Every year, little terns fly to our shores to breed from West Africa. Once here, these seabirds – which are no bigger than a tennis ball – face a range of challenges that make it difficult for them to successfully raise a family.

Nesting on beaches, they are at the mercy of coastal flooding and sea level rise, as well as human disturbance and natural predation.
In Northumberland, a group of conservation organisations have teamed up to help the little terns as they attempt to nest along the county’s coastline.

A partnership between the National Trust, Natural England, the RSPB and the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, the Northumberland Little Tern Project is recruiting volunteers to help watch over little terns and other shorebirds along the Northumberland coast.
Mhairi Maclauchlan, who runs the project, said: “We are looking for volunteers who would be happy spending time on some Northumberland’s most spectacular beaches, observing little terns and other shorebirds, as well as talking to the public.
“You don’t need to be a bird expert or have any experience as full training will be given.”
Most of the roles will be based at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve or the National Trust’s Beadnell Bay site, although there are also opportunities to work elsewhere along the Northumberland coast. 
For further information, contact Mhairi Maclauchlan on 07768 310629.

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is one of 11 initiatives across the UK, which together form the EU LIFE Little Tern Recovery Project. This also includes a project in County Durham to protect the little tern colony at Crimdon Dene.

This UK-wide project – involving 11 partner organisations – will lay the foundations for the long-term recovery of the little tern by increasing numbers of breeding pairs and productivity, identifying long-term plans for conservation and increasing public awareness and support.