Little Tern bounces back at Minsmere


A project to attract breeding Little Terns and other ground-nesting species to Minsmere RSPB has been hailed as a success.

The three-year Minsmere Scrape Enhancement Project to create and restore breeding and feeding sites has resulted in eight pairs of Little Terns nesting on islands at the Suffolk reserve this summer – the first time the species has bred there since 2019.

Little Tern bred at Minsmere RSPB this summer for the first time since 2019 (Matthew Barfield).

After decades of heavy use by many bird species, the scrape's lagoons and islands needed significant rejuvenation to maximise their benefit. Restoring the landscape was part of the LIFE on the Edge programme, which has seen the RSPB and the National Trust working to improve coastal nature sites in England.

Commencing in the winter of 2021, the scheme included the creation of new shingle-covered islands to encourage ground-nesting birds and installation of new water-level controls enabling staff to control the depth of the water, and move it around the site as needed.

The programme has also benefitted Avocet, with several pairs successfully fledging 27 chicks this summer.

The RSPB is pleased with the results so far. Site manager Nick Forster said: "[Minsmere] is part of the whole range of east-coast wetlands which are really important for birds. We have applied to have them designated as a World Heritage Site because they are an important part of what is known as the East Atlantic Flyway, where birds migrate north and south in huge numbers."