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Volunteers needed to help rare seabirds in Northumberland

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Little Tern - Kevin Simmonds

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to protect vulnerable birds nesting along the coast this summer. These include the endangered little terns, arctic terns and ringed plovers, which are collectively known as shorebirds.

Little terns spend their winter on the west coast of Africa and return to our coastline at the end of April. These rare birds lays eggs on the beach and are very susceptible to human disturbance, as well as predation and high tides, which can wash away their nests.

In Northumberland, little terns mainly nest on the National Trust Long Nanny site in Beadnell Bay and Natural England’s Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR), which stretches from Budle Bay to Goswick Black Rocks.

With funding made possible by players of the National Lottery and the EU Life+ Little Tern Recovery Project, there is a new member of the team at Lindisfarne NNR this year whose job it will be to support volunteers. Katherine Dunsford has taken up a graduate traineeship with the Coast Care volunteering initiative, her role will be to recruit, train and support volunteers working with shorebirds at the Lindisfarne reserve.

Katherine said: “I am really excited about taking this role, volunteers are essential for the protection of our breeding shorebirds. Together with the team of wardens, we need them to talk to beach users about the birds and prevent them from accidently disturbing them.  This makes a huge difference to the breeding success of these small visitors.

“We are looking for passionate nature enthusiasts who enjoy talking to people and spending time along the beautiful Northumberland coast.”

Coast Care, a partnership between Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Seahouses Development Trust and the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership and supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund will be recruiting volunteers for Lindisfarne and the Long Nanny shorebird  sites. If you would like to volunteer or find out more please contact them on 0781 356 3047 or or via the website

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Chris Collett, RSPB Communications Officer, 0191 233 4317, 07885 834889

Iain Robson, Northumberland Coast AONB, 01670 622660

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Katherine Dunsford