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Northumberland volunteers needed to protect rare seabird

Last modified: 24 February 2015

Little tern chicks

Little tern nests are little more than a scrape on the shingle or gravel shore.

Image: Dawn Thompson

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 these birds 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 Northumberland Little Tern Project, explains: “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.

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