Desperate birdwatchers visiting the Farne Islands’ toilets face an unexpected tern – with a rare bird nesting just inches overhead.
An Arctic tern, which will have arrived on the remote Northumberland islands from the Antarctic in May, is incubating two eggs in the grooves of the toilet’s clear corrugated plastic roof.
Jen Clark, National Trust ranger, said: “It might be that she’s seen the groove in the plastic as a great place to lay her eggs. Terns like to scrape out a cup shape for their nest.
“It might be potty, but the staff are loving it. That block has three toilets in a row, but everyone’s using the two that have the best view of the tern.
“We’re calling her ‘Lulu’.”
It’s not the first time the island’s wildlife has taken up home in the toilets on Inner Farne.
Jen added: “We get an eider duck that nests against the toilet wall. The ducklings only just hatched and we had to lower a fence to help them off the nest.”
The National Trust has cared for the islands since 1925. Set a mile off the Northumberland coast, the islands have been protected for 189 years and are one of Britain’s oldest nature reserves. They are home to more than 96,000 pairs of seabirds, including puffins, arctic terns and eider ducks.