Little terns return to nesting site

Visitors to a Hartlepool beach are being urged to respect a colony of rare seabirds and avoid disturbing their nests.

The little terns have again taken up residence on a stretch of beach at Seaton Carew after nesting there for the first time in 2019. The nesting area is close to the resort’s centre, behind the bus station

Weighing only 40-60g and about the size of a starling, little terns are the smallest of the five species of terns that breed in the UK. The birds lay their well-camouflaged eggs in shallow scrapes in the sand, but this makes the nests very difficult to spot and leaves them extremely vulnerable to disturbance and damage.

This year, a more substantial fence has been put up to try to protect their nests and wardens from the Durham Wildlife Trust are monitoring the site as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund SeaScapes Partnership.

Volunteers erect the protective fence

Volunteers erect the protective fence

Senior warden Mandy Bell said: “The little terns have come all the way from West Africa to actually nest on this beach – what a privilege!

“I do not know of another nesting site that is as close to the promenade, but this does make them vulnerable to disturbance. Over the last few years we have had problems with people and dogs getting onto the site.

Sarah Scarr, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Heritage and Countryside Manager, said: “We would ask people to respect the site and keep their distance. Adult birds will leave their nests if disturbed, leaving their eggs and chicks vulnerable to the weather and predators.”

Source link

Show More