Seabirds on National Trust coastal places

We take a look at four of the key seadbird species found on National Trust land across England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Sandwich tern

The report reveals that National Trust land is hugely important for Sandwich terns, with nationally significant colonies at Blakeney Point in Norfolk, Farne Islands, Cemlyn Lagoon, Green Island and Brownsea Island Lagoon.

Sandwich tern in flight at Blakeney Point in Norfolk

Sandwich tern in flight at Blakeney Point in Norfolk

Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger at Blakeney, said: “On Blakeney Point the breeding terns have been surveyed for over 100 years. Carrying out surveys as well as observing the colonies enables more to be learned about these birds and how we can help to protect them.”

Manx shearwater

Virtually all Manx shearwaters in the world breed in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. National Trust sites Lundy island, Middleholm in Pembrokeshire and Lighthouse Island, County Down all hold populations of this burrow nesting seabird.

A Manx Shearwater in flight

A Manx Shearwater in flight

Like other burrow nesting seabirds, Manx shearwaters are very vulnerable to predation by rats. When, in a partnership with RSPB and Landmark Trust, the National Trust removed the rats from Lundy Island, it led to a spectacular increase in numbers.

In Northern Ireland, the population of Manx shearwater on Lighthouse Island was recognised as being of global importance with just less than 1% of all Manx shearwater now breeding there.

Atlantic puffin

Despite increasing population numbers on the Farne Islands, which attract more than 52,000 visitors every year, the islands’ most famous residents, 40,000 pairs of puffins, also face a challenging future.

Wetter, windier summers can greatly impact their breeding success as was evident in 2012. Heavy flooding of the puffin burrows meant that one of the islands failed to produce any chicks, despite being home to 12,000 pairs of puffins.

The Atlantic puffin colony recovered and is now the second largest in the UK, with 10% of the total UK population breeding there.

David Steel, Lead Ranger on the Farne Islands, said: “I’ve travelled the length and breadth of Britain visiting many fabulous seabird reserves, but the intensity, close proximity and astonishing views of the seabirds on the Farne Islands make it one of the most remarkable wildlife experiences this country has to offer.

“With the inevitable changes to our coast, innovative thinking is needed such as considering new sites that can be made into suitable habitats.”

Arctic terns

Populations of Arctic tern on National Trust sites are of a national significant level in England.

An Artic tern after some successful hunting for food

An Artic tern after some successful hunting for food

The most southerly colony of Arctic terns is found on National Trust’s Blakeney Point in Norfolk.


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