What we're looking for
We face the risk of losing little terns from the Essex coastline and need your help to develop a public engagement programme and make it as success! We are looking for sociable and inspiring nature enthusiasts to be advocates for little terns around Hamford Water and the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries during the April to August breeding season. The role would include raising public awareness about the plight of little terns and how we can all contribute to protecting them during the breeding season; providing posters and information on protection and conservation of little terns and other beach nesting birds to identified community partners i.e.. marinas, visitor centres and tourist sites; promoting little tern recovery at one or two events, and giving short talks to beach using groups about safe behaviour where terns are nesting. The little tern is one of Britain's rarest breeding seabirds and has suffered chronic decline over the past 25 years in part due to the loss of suitable coastal breeding sites. They nest on sand or shingle coastal beaches near shallow, sheltered feeding areas where they catch small fish, invertebrates and surface insects. Little terns are struggling to find a safe place to nest on our beaches due to increasing recreational activities, climate change, habitat loss and predation. This has restricted them to the margins of the Essex coast, which offer ongoing challenges to both the species and the conservation efforts. As a partner in the national EU LIFE little tern project, the RSPB in eastern England has worked to increase the population of little terns through restoration, creation and management of breeding sites; monitoring and protecting nesting terns and their young during the breeding season; and increasing public awareness to ensure support for the long term protection of little terns. Numbers of nesting little terns in Essex seem to be on the increase, but we need to continue our efforts for their recovery.