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Little Tern Season

Little Tern Season 2018

The maximum number of Little Terns recorded in 2018 was 144 on 2 June, broadly equivalent to 72 pairs. The minimum number of nest-scrapes active at any one time was 9 at Crimdon and 1 at South Gare. However, no eggs were successfully hatched, largely because of persistent problems with crow predation at Crimdon. This was the first year of total breeding failure at Teesmouth since 2012.


The Little Tern Project at Crimdon Denemouth was again co-ordinated by Durham Heritage Coast. Louise Harrington was Project Officer, with Ruth Smith and Amanda Bell (recruited by Durham Wildlife Trust) taking up part-time seasonal warden posts (18½ hours per week each). Four volunteer wardens were recruited and often covered hours when there was no seasonal warden presence. They did a variety of tasks – litter picking, monitoring the Little Tern and predators, fence repairs and engaging with the public. INCA’s role was reduced still further to providing very occasional technical advice / support and collating the annual report.

South Gare and Coatham Sands

Once again, all Little Tern activity was concentrated close to the South Gare Breakwater. Here a 370m long fenced enclosure 0.44ha in extent was installed by Redcar & Cleveland’s Countryside Service on 25 April.

The co-ordinated count on 8 June revealed a total of 9 birds, with one apparently occupied nest and a probable second territorial pair. Sadly, none were recorded on subsequent visits on 12 and 14 June, though 9 were again present on 15 June, of which two were within the enclosure.

Seaton Snook

The site lies within the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve and a post-and-twine fence and associated signage is maintained by Natural England with the help of the Hartlepool Countryside Service. However, owing to vegetation encroachment potential breeding habitats is now extremely limited in extent, hence no regular wardening or sustained observation took place here. Small numbers of Little Terns were recorded at roost here on seven dates between 16 July and 20 August, with a maximum of 6 on 18 August.