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.
Monday, 20 March 2017
The Extremes of Predator Proofing
the rangers at the Long Nanny tern site battle a variety of predators in their
attempt to protect the birds that nest there. Each year is different and at one
point or another, the site has suffered at the hands of most shorebird
predators. For the last two seasons stoat predation has had a large impact on
the productivity of the colony and despite a lot of chasing and head-long trips
over Marram tussocks, ranger activity has done little to deter them.
Volunteers constructing the fence
We have been
slowly improving our fencing on site to protect against mammalian predators. Work
in 2016 seemed to have an effect on larger mammal predation and this year we
have started to experiment with fencing against smaller mammals. Our team of
volunteers have had to get creative and we have come up with a chicken wire
fence line, with fold over top to stop climbing. It may not be stoat proof but we
hope it will at least be a deterrent (and a learning curve for the rangers).
The constantly evolving fence line
We are also
trying to improve our equipment on site to increase visibility during night
shifts and have even contemplated scare crows to reduce fox predation. In the
calm of pre-season preparations it all seems a bit bizarre, but as soon as June
arrives and the predators become apparent, in depth conversations about how
reflective a scare crows eyes should be and whether playing Radio 1 or Radio 4 is a
greater deterrent become as common as commenting on the weather (which we do a lot of as well!).
The Long Nanny tern site will start on the 5th of May and visitors are welcome to come to the viewing platform and take part in some of these strange conversations with the rangers. We do ask that all dogs are kept on leads and that diversion signs from the beach are followed to prevent disturbing the nesting birds.