Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The season so far at the Long Nanny site…

For three months of the year the mouth of the Long Nanny, just south of Beadnell, turns into a protected shorebird breeding site. It becomes a temporary home to nesting pairs of Little Tern, Arctic Tern and Ringed Plover, along with a team of Assistant Rangers who monitor the site 24 hours a day.

The site viewed from the Long Nanny bridge © Will Whittington 

Several pairs of Ringed Plover were the first to arrive this year, followed by the team of rangers who moved in at the beginning of May. During the first few weeks we were kept busy setting up the site. Firstly areas of beach are roped off and signs put in place to reduce disturbance, existing fencing is improved and the vegetation is cut back in some of the nesting areas. 

Then everything the rangers need to live on site is put into place: toilet huts are built, tents erected and the solar electricity system connected. As you can imagine living on a remote site with no mains electricity or running water doesn’t come without its problems, but there are many perks as well, the early morning sunrises being one of them.

Sunrise over the site © Rachelle Regan 

The birds and their nests are monitored throughout the season and after a few tense weeks of waiting the first eggs have started to hatch. The first ringed plover chicks can be seen running around on the beach, followed by anxious parents desperately trying to keep their chicks together and within eye sight. The first Arctic Tern chick hatched last week and hopefully will be followed by many more. Currently there are thirteen Little Tern nests and we are expecting the first eggs to hatch in the next few days.

Numbered nest markers ready to go out © Rachelle Regan

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