Arctic terns take flight

Artic Tern
Published : 07 Sep 2017 Last update : 14 Sep 2017

A tiny bird, which clocked up the longest migration ever recorded, is booming in population thanks to our conservation efforts on the Northumberland Coast.

More than 500 Arctic terns - and five internationally threatened little terns - have fledged, thanks to rangers camping out on 24-hour watch against predators, such as stoats and foxes. Last year just two Arctic terns and five little terns, vulnerable to high tides and marine pollution, managed to take flight.

Decades of extensive conservation efforts have helped birds on the Northumberland Coast; this summer, we acquired 200 acres of land at Tughall Mill for £1.5million to ensure this vital conservation work can continue.

Only around 1,800 breeding pairs of Arctic terns return to the Long Nanny from Antarctica each year, between May and July. Last year, one Arctic tern from the Farne Islands hit the headlines after it clocked up 59,650 miles in one migration, more than twice the circumference of the planet.

Tughall Mill's wildlife habitats

Tughall Mill has important wildlife habitats including saltmarsh, woodland, hedgerows, pasture and sand dunes. Many being created and enhanced are priority habitats, identified as requiring special protection.

As custodians of this special place, we are working to enhance the land’s mosaic, ensuring nature and wildlife can thrive for the benefit of future generations. The land was acquired through our Neptune campaign which, for more than 50 years, has enabled us to care for Britain’s coastline.

" As an independent conservation charity, we are passionate about looking after special places for the benefit of people, wildlife and nature. Our investment in Tughall Mill offers a truly unique opportunity to do this."
- Simon Lee, General Manager of National Trust's Northumberland Coast

Dune systems like those at Tughall Mill are one of 50 ‘priority’ nature habitats hand-picked by the government as needing support. We plan to create 25,000 hectares of these habitats by 2025, in order to help reverse the decline in wildlife and restore natural heritage.