2020 was an incredibly successful year for endangered seabirds across England’s south coast. This is thanks to the hard work of the RSPB (Royal Society for The Protection Of Birds) staff and volunteers, who provided and protected suitable habitats for the birds, even throughout the challenges during the Covid-19 restrictions.
The team at RSPB worked hard to provide these safe habitats for the birds - installing protective fencing and signage, patrolling the nest sites to ensure the safety levels and space needed for the birds to thrive was met. Through their hard efforts and perseverance, this is what the team managed to accomplish for the endangered species of seabirds:
- A record 164 sandwich tern chicks fledged from RSPB Pagham Harbour last year.
- Over 45 little terns fledged from two different beaches. This is one of the UK’s rarest breeding seabirds.
- 1579 pairs of Mediterranean Gulls nested last year at RSPB Langstone Harbour. This is the 2nd highest total ever recorded. Mediterranean gulls were once very rare but are now breeding around the UK coast in increasing numbers. Last year saw the first pair nest at RSPB Lodmoor and the first ever chick to fledge from there.
- 56 ‘sea-swallow’ chicks took to the sky on the south coast.
- In Kent and Dorset, 180 common tern chicks fledged - the highest number in nearly a decade after many failed attempts.
Richard Archer, RSPB Conservation Officer said, “The coastal habitats that these birds rely on are shrinking, so restoring and creating suitable habitat is vital to their survival. The success of our little tern numbers has led to the highest number of breeding little terns in over a decade and reflects a huge amount of planning, hard work and innovation. Our volunteers, operating under Covid-19 restrictions, have been fantastic. If they can breed successfully, little terns will often return to the same nesting beach every year, so it’s a really positive sign that the work we are doing here will support the future of these vulnerable birds.”