Little Tern Wardens Appointed to Help Monitor Nesting Site at Crimdon

Durham Wildlife Trust News

Ruth Smith and Liz Shaw – Crimdon’s new Little Tern Wardens alongside Coralie Niven of Durham Heritage Coast

Two graduates of Durham Wildlife Trust’s Volunteer Reserves Officer scheme, established to train conservationists, have been appointed to monitor one of the UK’s most important bird nesting sites.

Liz Shaw and Ruth Smith will work as Little Tern Wardens, responsible for helping to monitor the little tern nesting site at Crimdon on behalf of the Heritage Coast Partnership.

Little terns first started nesting at Crimdon in 1995 but because they are ground-nesting birds can be vulnerable to disturbance. However, thanks to efforts over the past thirty years, the site is now recognised as one of the most successful breeding colonies in the UK.

Little terns are one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds, migrating from West Africa to nest amongst the stones on the UK coastline. They are in decline throughout the UK due to climate change, disturbance and predation.

Liz Shaw and Ruth Smith will be responsible for monitoring the birds and gathering data for this UK-Wide EU LIFE+ funded project which aims to build awareness of the bird’s importance.

Visitors are encouraged to speak with the wardens to find out more about the bird and to learn how they can help with its conservation.

Coralie Niven, of the Heritage Coast Partnership, said: “This vital monitoring and recording work will make a significant contribution to the protection of this schedule 1 listed bird. We hope 2017 will build on the successes of 2016 and that it is a very positive season for the little tern.”

Find out more about the project by visiting

For more information on volunteering opportunities please email