New funding for Chesil Beach Little Tern project
Tuesday 8th May 2018
The Isle and Royal Manor of Portland Court Leet have generously doubled their annual contribution to the Chesil Beach Little Tern Project, helping to secure a safe future for this important seabird colony.
As stewards of the Crown common land on Portland, the Court Leet play an important role in overseeing various activities. They are perhaps best known for administering the beach hut rentals and of course beating the bounds, but their support in helping ensure the survival of the little terns on Chesil is less well known.
They have been partners in the current recovery project since its inception in 2009 after the colony had suffered a steep decline in numbers and was on the verge of extinction. The terns nest on that part of the beach which is common land and consequently the Court felt it was appropriate to help out.
The Chesil Beach Little Tern Recovery Project is a partnership between the Portland Court Leet, The Crown Estates, Natural England, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve and the RSPB who manage the project.
Since 2009 the terns have begun a dramatic recovery through the introduction of new management techniques and an increased wardening presence. As well as employing seasonal wardens the project has come to rely on a growing band of local volunteers with more than 50 people assisting in the 24/7 wardening last year.
2017 was yet again a record breaking year. The colony has grown from just 10 pairs in 2009 to 38 pairs. And 73 fledglings, the most ever recorded at Chesil, left the beach with their parents to fly back to West Africa for the winter. In fact for the second year running the Chesil colony was the most successful in the whole of the British Isles in terms of productivity (1.92 fledglings per pair) and in the top five for total numbers of fledglings.
Jane White who is the Crown Local Agent representing the Court said: "The Court Leet is the proud protector of Portland's Commons which include Chesil Beach. Having come so far with this project, we'd like to help ensure the long-term survival of these plucky little birds who return every summer to this same part of the beach to breed".
For anyone who is interesting in joining the project as a Little Tern Volunteer this year, there will be a pre-season meeting held at the Chesil Beach Centre on Thursday, May 10th at 7pm. This is a chance to find out more about the project, meet some of the team, and register to volunteer. For more information please contact Scarlett Hutchin, RSPB Project Officer, on 07590441414 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Tony Whitehead, RSPB Communications manager, 01392 453754 / 07872 414365.
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. Dorset Wildlife Trust registered charity number: 200222.
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