Best year ever on Chesil Beach for tiny South West seabird
Friday 27th October 2017
One of our smallest and most elegant seabirds has broken recent breeding records at its sole South West England stronghold on Chesil Beach with up to 73 chicks taking to the skies.
Thirty-eight pairs of little terns bred on Chesil Beach’s pebbles this summer, and up to 73 chicks fledged, a recent record number of young for the colony and making it one of the most successful sites in UK.
Volunteers have once again played a key role in the Little Tern Recovery Project’s success, with 56 people devoting hours of their time to watching nests, and helping make sure the vulnerable birds were not disturbed by passers-by, pets, or predators.
Helen Booker speaking for RSPB said: “It’s been a great year, and we’re all delighted with how the chicks have done. In total 77 hatched and up to 73 fledged, so over the summer we only lost four chicks.
“It just goes to show that with the right amount of management and the support of our dedicated team of volunteers these birds can succeed. We really believe they are now well on the way to recovery on this wonderful part of the Dorset coast.”
Chesil is South West England’s only little tern colony and as recently as the late 1990s as many as 100 pairs bred there. The number dipped to only ten pairs in 2008 and the colony’s productivity this summer is the result of eight years hard work by organisations involved in the Little Recovery Tern Project.
Jane White from Portland Court Leet, project partners who have offered further vital funding for next year's season, said: “We are really proud to be able to support this successful project that is really helping these amazing seabirds to make a strong recovery on the Fleet. There is still a lot to do though and the project will need continued support to build upon this success.”
One of the smallest seabirds, the little tern, which migrates to Africa in the autumn before returning in the spring, has been in decline because of predation, food shortages and extreme weather conditions. It is on the UK’s amber list of birds of conservation concern – the second highest category.
Protecting Chesil’s little terns has been made possible by a coalition of organisations including the RSPB, Chesil Bank and Fleet Nature Reserve, Natural England, The Crown Estate, Portland Court Leet, and the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 27,000 members and 44 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows nature reserve and the Kingcombe Centre, Brownsea Island Nature Reserve, The Fine Foundation Marine Centre and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Anonymous 3, Nov 2017 @ 16:24
Great news, well done to all involved.
Anonymous 3, Nov 2017 @ 16:33
This is fantastic news; thanks to all who were involved. It's also great to see a "good news" story to balance all the bad news in the world caused by human being.
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