Looking after terns at Long Nanny
Arctic terns at Long Nanny in Northumberland have failed to fledge chicks for the first time since 1980 after severe weather and lockdown restrictions hampered our work to protect them.
Little terns have fared better with up to six chicks leaving the site to begin their long migration to West Africa.
Our rangers had high hopes for the Arctic terns this year. A high sand spit, formed to the south of the estuary during winter, was expected to protect the nesting birds against high tides. But exceptionally high tides in June exacerbated by strong onshore winds washed away half of the nests.
Many of the remaining nests were preyed upon by rats and stoats at a time when our rangers were unable to provide their usual round-the-clock care due to travel restrictions imposed by the lockdown. We think that these predators and other disturbances from people and a loose dog caused the remaining Arctic terns to abandon their nests towards the end of June.
" It goes to show how important this conservation work is in protecting our declining species."