Little Tern Colony Protection Volunteer - Chesil Beach, Dorset

Tuesday 8 May 2018
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation, Surveying wildlife
Chesil Beach

What we're looking for

This is an exciting and successful project! Chesil Beach has the only little tern colony in South West England and the colony was in steady decline from the late 1990s until 2010. Predation and to a lesser extent, disturbance, are real problems at Chesil. This project has successfully increased breeding success by protecting the terns from foxes and other predators. The project started in 2009 and the colony is increasing in size and producing good numbers of fledged young. But we need lots of help to maintain this success! A seasonal Project Officer runs the project between April and August each year, overseeing 24 hour wardening at the site, but they can't be at the colony all the time, so help from a team of volunteers is vital. This volunteer role includes looking out for and chasing away predators, involving running on the pebbles, shouting and waving. The role also involves preventing disturbance from people and dogs by talking to people as situations arise. Full training is given.

The skills you need

You will need to be at least 18 yrs old with a good level of fitness and able to walk on rough ground. Enthusiasm, an interest in conservation is important, and you must be prepared to work unsupervised for at least four hours at a time. We generally have only one person on shift during daylight hours, though you will be accompanied by a core member of the project team on your first shift. If there is a lot predator activity, the Project Officer will try to have two people on shift together depending on the availability of volunteers. Wardening operates during all weathers but we do have a hide for shelter. Your own binoculars are useful but not essential and you need reasonable bird identification skills.

Your time

Minimum three 4-hour shifts per month (on average). No maximum limit! Shifts are conducted between 0600h and 2200h.
3 months
May to early August.

What's in it for you?

You will be part of a vital team making a direct contribution to conserving this important species and working on the glorious Chesil Beach at Portland, near Weymouth. This is an excellent chance to make a genuine contribution to wildlife conservation and experience these amazing birds at their colony. You will also gain a valuable insight into the workings of the RSPB, Europe's largest conservation charity

How to apply


Kevin Rylands, South West England Regional Office
Tel: 01392 432691


We also have residential volunteer opportunities as part of this project, primarily to undertake the night shifts but also to gain wider experience of the project through the season. See our residential volunteer brochure. This project is a partnership with Natural England, The Crown Estate, Portland Court Leet, Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Chesil Bank and Fleet Nature Reserve.

Reference number 5576