This year is the second of the Suffolk Little Tern Project, funded by EU LIFE, which involves many partner organisations here including the National Trust, Natural England, RSBP, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Suffolk Coasts & Heaths AONB and local councils. Enhanced management will be carried out at numerous sites in Suffolk identified as important tern colonies.
Last year the little terns in Suffolk had their most successful breeding season in years, with 18 fledglings recorded from three sites. This may not sound like many, but we have lost around 90% of little terns in this county in the last two decades, so numbers in the double digits are a good start. Going into 2015, we have learnt much from the previous season and are optimistic that we can continue to improve the productivity at Kessingland, Walberswick and other sites where they nest. Look out this year for little tern ‘decoys’, painted, plaster tern models that entice terns to nest in fenced areas monitored by wardens.
Last year was the first attempt to colour-ring both adult and juvenile little terns in East Anglia, with many successfully ringed from the Norfolk colonies. This year we will be looking out to see if any of these ringed birds return to their original colony or whether they appear at other locations, giving us important information on their dispersal and breeding habits. (These birds are protected as a Schedule 1 species, so please note it is an offence to disturb little terns, their eggs, or their young while on or near a nest).
We cannot be everywhere at once, and so information from the public is much appreciated and will help us to protect these amazing birds. Please report any sightings of little terns along the Suffolk coast to Jesse Timberlake at:
Mobile, call or text: 07718 579107
Further information can be found on the Touching the Tide leaflet Protecting Little Terns on the Suffolk Coast.