The National Trust cares for some of our most cherished places, landscapes and wildlife habitats on the Northumberland Coast including Lindisfarne Castle, The Farne Islands, the two inland sites of Ros Castle and St Cuthbert's Cave, and over 12 miles of stunning coast over a forty mile stretch. These include St Aidan's dunes at Seahouses, Beadnell lime kilns, Craster to Low Newton (including Dunstanburgh Castle and Embleton Bay), Buston Links at Alnmouth and Druridge Bay.
Friday, 16 October 2015
The Long Nanny Breeding Season
seems to be upon us here on the coast and as we welcome the arrival of
our wintering birds, the ranger team have been reflecting on the summer
that breed on the Long Nanny site near Beadnell had a difficult season. After the first egg was laid on the 18th
of May, unseasonable weather, strong tides and a good number of predators led
to heavy losses for some species. The stoat and her kittens were the dominant
predator, remaining throughout the season and causing breeding Terns to abandon
entire areas of the site despite the rangers’ best efforts to protect them.
Arctic Terns had a
tough year, raising only 40-50 fledglings. This may have contributed to the
dramatic inter-species conflict that occurred between Little Terns and Arctic
Terns; with Arctic Terns observed attacking and killing Little Tern chicks;
most likely resulting from the loss of their own broods.
Despite this the 27 pairs of Little Terns were successful in fledging a
minimum of 14 chicks and Ringed Plovers, who also breed on the Long Nanny spit,
raised between 12 and 17 fledglings.
The site was
finally collapsed on the 3rd August assisted by a willing team of
volunteers helping to bring in hundreds of metres of rope and electric fencing
that had been protecting the Terns while they had been breeding on the beach.
After a few days, the only signs that we were ever there is the hut, which
remains throughout the winter, and the bare patches in the dunes where the
rangers’ tents were pitched.
We would like to
say a massive thank you to the team of rangers and volunteers who were
essential in the protection of these delicate birds as they monitored the site
24/7, working in all weathers. The rangers also welcomed visitors to the site,
answering questions and pointing out the different breeding bird species. They
were also instrumental in informing beach-goers about the reason for the
restricted access at certain points on the beach (reinforced with fencing and
signs) and to explain to dog-walkers the importance of keeping their dog at
heel or on the lead when near the terns.
The National Trust’s Long Nanny Tern site is part of the EU LIFE Little
Tern project, which is a partnership of organisations working together to
ensure the Little Tern’s long-term future! Although our Terns have finished
breeding and left for their wintering grounds, if you are interested in
volunteering with us next year to protect these special birds please email the