Little Tern Recovery Project Life+ Nature Project at Crimdon
Crimdon sits towards the southern limit of the Heritage Coast boundary within County Durham.
With its sandy beaches, Crimdon has always played an important part in linking people with their natural environment. Whether this is back in the 1920’s when Crimdon was an annual holiday spot or now as local communities and visitors use the area for recreation. In addition our wildlife has found some unique habitat opportunities for their own summer retreat!
The Little Tern, one of Britain’s rarest sea birds is one species which over recent years has taken a liking to the sands of Crimdon. Many now return annually in May from West Africa to breed on the north east coast with the potential of returning to Africa in September with the next generation.
Despite the Little Terns now being regulars at Crimdon and indeed at many other sites around the UK’s coastline, little is known about their populations and movement.
To improve our knowledge and understanding, the Little Tern Recovery project led by the RSPB and funded by Life+ Nature fund was developed. This five year (2015 – 2019) project has brought together a wide network of partners all working towards the same objective which is; to gain a greater understanding of Little Tern populations as well as protecting current breeding sites and ensuring their continued use and development in the future.
The beaches of Seaham and Crimdon are quite unique as they are the only ones with ‘golden’ sandy beaches. Crimdon has the additional landscape characteristic of sand dunes and it is this feature which, in part, attracts people to walk along the coast and provides unique habitat opportunities for our wildlife.
Getting the balance of management right so that the public can enjoy the space and wildlife can flourish is all part of the battle and something which the EU LIFE+ Nature funding will help us address. Since 1990, the Little Tern population has been in decline with principal threats being predation and human disturbance.
As part of the project the Heritage Coast Partnership continues to support the seasonal wardens who help protect the Little Tern nesting site as well as educating the hundreds of visitors who use the site.
Through the project we will also be taking the opportunity to:
- Improve public access to the beaches by reinstating two board walks
- Repair damage to the dune system by blocking off some desire lines and planting up with marram grass allowing the dune system to repair
- Relocating the embryo dunes in front of the tern nesting site to allow improved feeding opportunities for the breeding colony
Volunteers helping erect little tern fencing at Crimdon, 2010
More information about the wider Little Tern recovery project can be found on the main project webpage.
Links to news updates are posted below as the project develops. Please do check back from time to time or if you would like further information, contact Coralie Niven – Crimdon Project Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03000 268 131.
2017-spring-site-news-poster-1-tern – please click on this link to take you to Spring 2017 news!