Thanks for your support!Published Thursday, 22nd August 2019
Visitors to a Hartlepool beach have been thanked for respecting a colony of rare seabirds and helping to ensure a successful breeding season.
Earlier this summer, about 50 pairs of legally-protected little terns began nesting on the sand in an area stretching from the old fairground site to near the bus station at Seaton Carew.
The site was immediately cordoned off by Hartlepool Borough Council, wardens were drafted in and an appeal was issued for people not to disturb the birds and their nests.
Now the birds have headed off to West Africa for the winter after successfully rearing 38 chicks.
Graham Megson, Hartlepool Borough Council's ecologist, checks the little tern nesting site
Graham Megson, the Council’s ecologist, said: “We’ve had some fantastic help from the Durham Wildlife Trust and the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and also the Teesmouth Bird Club, but most of all thanks must go to the people of Seaton Carew and the many visitors to the area.
“Everyone has really embraced the presence of the little terms and they have helped us to help the birds have a successful breeding season.
“We are very proud of the way things have turned out in respect of the number of fledgling birds, and we are very much hoping that the little terns return next year for another successful breeding season.”
Weighing only 40-60g and about the size of a starling, little terns are the smallest of the five species of terns that breed in the UK. They winter in West Africa and migrate thousands of miles to nest in the UK from May to August. They lay their well-camouflaged eggs in shallow scrapes in the sand.