Blakeney Point electric fencing and shelters help tern numbers | Englishheadline


Electric fencing, bird shelters and cameras introduced at a nature reserve have helped increase its number of rare seabirds.

Blakeney Point, in Norfolk, had 49 little tern chicks fledge this year – the highest number since 2020.

The National Trust, which runs the site, said it had been a “challenging year” because of the devastating impact of avian flu.

It said “old and new” methods of conservation improved the success rate.

A little tern chick being ringed on Blakeney Point

Volunteers from the Iceni Bird Monitoring Group helped ring the little tern chicks

One of the UK’s smallest and rarest seabirds, little terns migrate several thousand miles from Africa to breed, nesting in colonies on shingle beaches along the UK coastline.

Numbers of the birds have declined sharply since the mid-1980s due to disturbances from people and dogs, habitat loss, high spring tides washing away nests and threats from predators including foxes, rats and birds of prey.

The charity said in June there were more than 80 pairs of little terns nesting and a minimum of 49 chicks had successfully fledged by the end of the season.

A pair of little tern Chicks at Blakeney Point

Ranger Duncan Halpin said the work of its volunteers helped to protect “one of our most charismatic species”

To encourage successful breeding, electric fencing was introduced at the Norfolk site along with “chick shelters” placed by nests, to give the terns somewhere to hide. Remote monitoring cameras were also installed.

Ranger, Duncan Halpin, said: “Nesting areas are fenced off to prevent people and dogs from getting too close to the birds.

“And this year we’ve combined old and new conservation methods, which we feel have helped improve the birds’ success rate.

National Trust Ranger Duncan Halpin monitoring seabirds on Blakeney Point

Mr Halpin said this year’s nesting season had been successful

“Although they’ve had a successful year, little terns are still under threat, so it’s important we keep up our efforts to ensure they have safe sites to breed.”

The number of ringed plovers at Blakeney also rose to 17 pairs with 20 chicks, up from 14 pairs and eight chicks last year. There were also 89 oystercatcher pairs, up from 68 pairs a year before.

A ringed plover nests with a protective wire cage to deter predators

A ringed plover nests with a protective wire cage to deter predators

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top
%d bloggers like this: