Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 15:31 UK

Rare Durham coast seabird colony 'protected'

Little Tern - Pic: Harry Brenkely
Wardens will protect the eggs from predators and thieves

Work has started to protect a colony of rare seabirds that nest on a North East beach.

Little Terns have started breeding at Crimdon, Dene Mouth on the Durham Coast. Last year they produced 118 chicks - a new record for the site.

A protective fence has been erected on the beach by the Industry Nature Conservation Association (INCA).

It aims to ensure the ground-nesting birds are safe from predators including foxes and hedgehogs.

Round-the-clock wardens, who have been working with police, will also protect the colony from egg thieves.

'Precious and endangered'

Geoff Barber, an ecologist with INCA, said: "The colony has done really well in recent years but there is no room for complacency.

"Because Little Terns are so vulnerable to predation and disturbance, we do everything in our power to protect them during the breeding season.

"The last thing we want is for the birds to be disturbed and for their eggs to be lost.

"Little Terns are such a precious and endangered sea bird that it is vital that we do everything we can to ensure their survival."



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