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Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteering opportunities

Get "hands-on" in the fight to save the Little Tern

Every summer, teams of volunteer little tern wardens support the Little Tern Project by monitoring the beaches at sites around the UK where these special birds make their homes.

Volunteering at a little tern colony provides an opportunity to meet new people and be part of a team working on some of the most beautiful beaches around the UK.

You can learn more about bird ecology and witness the drama of an active tern colony, following these endearing birds as they raise their young from tiny bundles of fluff to intrepid fledglings before they fly back to West Africa for the winter.

No specific skills are required, as all training will be provided. You will need to be fairly physically fit as some walking is necessary at some colonies, as is working outdoors in all weather conditions. Bird identification skills are not essential but would be useful.

Duties vary, but can include nest protection and monitoring as well as talking with the public about the project.

In 2018 2 nests were raised at RSPB Old Hall Marshes to protect them from an unusually high tide:

"The whole experience of producing the decoys, monitoring the birds and being intrinsically involved in the intervention to save the nests was extremely fulfilling. We had taken action and that action did make a difference. The young of an extremely endangered species had survived as a direct result of my volunteering efforts and to see the fledgling birds take flight later in the season starting their migration to their winter feeding grounds in West Africa was highly rewarding.

And I’d like to think that my decoys were the reason they were there in the first place but, I’m afraid, we will never know."

Paul Davis - Project coordinator - Essex Little Tern Group

Essex coast

Contact: Paul Davis
Email: Paul.Davis@rspb.org.uk
or email: oldhallmarshes@rspb.org.uk
Phone: 07763581789
The EbnBG (Essex beach-nesting Birds Group) was formed in 2019 as an evolution of the ELTG (Essex Little Tern Group), a collective of conservation charities, public bodies, private organisations and key individuals working in harmony across coastal Essex to protect, restore and enhance populations of Little Tern and other beach-nesting birds including Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher. Volunteer lead conservation and monitoring is undertaken at various sites around the county including Hamford Water and the Blackwater & Colne estuaries.

Benacre and Kessingland, Suffolk

Contact: Katie Fairhurst, RSPB North Suffolk Coast Reserves Warden
Email: katie.fairhurst@rspb.org.uk
Phone: 01728 648780

Thanks to funding from the EU LIFE+ Nature Programme and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB’s Touching the Tide project, the Little Tern Project is helping to ensure that our little terns have a successful trip to the Suffolk coast, and return to West Africa with a new brood in September.

A team of volunteers will be stationed at Benacre and Kessingland, (RSPB and Natural England sites) monitoring the little tern colonies and helping beach visitors find out more about the special species.

If you’d like to help protect this wonderful seabird in Suffolk, please get in touch.

Blakeney Point

Contact: Stephen Prowse
Email: stephen.prowse@nationaltrust.org.uk

Help protect and monitor little terns on Blakeney Point with the National Trust, as part of the Little Tern Project.

The role involves walking a mile along the shingle beach to be based on the edge of the colony, where a hide will be situated
You will be greeting visitors and telling them about the terns and the importance of not disturbing them
There will be the opportunity to get involved in little tern observations
Induction will normally take place in late April (date TBC but possibly 25th)
If you’d like to help protect this wonderful seabird on Blakeney Point, please get in touch.

Great Yarmouth and Winterton-on-sea

Email: norfolklittleterns@rspb.org.uk
or email: Sarah.Gelpke@rspb.org.uk
Phone: 01603 660066

A team of volunteers will be stationed at the ‘Geodome’ located on Winterton beach. The structure has been funded by Norfolk Coast AONB Sustainable Development Fund and the EU LIFE+ Nature Programme and will provide shelter from which volunteers can monitor the little tern colony, and a hub for beach visitors to find out more about the special species.

Spurn Bird Observatory Trust

Contact: Paul Collins
Email: friendsofspurn@hotmail.com

If you’d like to help protect this wonderful seabird in east Yorkshire, please get in touch.

Gronant Dunes, Denbighshire, Wales

Email: nwlittleterns@gmail.com
Phone: 01824 708313 (Denbighshire Countryside Service)

Just to the east of Prestatyn lies Gronant Dunes. The little terns breed at the most northern point on the shingle and have been breeding successfully at this point for over 40 years.

Access to the site is a ¾ mile walk from the main Shore Road car park at Gronant
A warden rota will start on Monday 15 May this year. Usually the season is finished by the end of July. The hours are flexible but it helps if you add your name to the rota sheet held on site
Training is provided either by the tern wardens present on site or by trained volunteers from the North Wales Little Tern Group
Please bring suitable clothing for all weathers as it is very changeable
North Wales Little Tern Group help out at other sites such as Point of Ayr

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