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National Trust warning to protect bird colonies on Blakeney Point

07:00 01 August 2014

EDP Feature on Blakeney Point - Ajay Tegala. Picture: Matthew Usher.

EDP Feature on Blakeney Point - Ajay Tegala. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

Nature lovers are being urged to be aware of protected bird colonies on a north Norfolk beauty spot as holidaymakers start to arrive in the area.

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A little tern in flight in May, pictured by Blakeney Point volunteer Richard Porter. Picture: RICHARD PORTERA little tern in flight in May, pictured by Blakeney Point volunteer Richard Porter. Picture: RICHARD PORTER

The National Trust, which looks after Blakeney Point, have reiterated the importance of keeping a distance from breeding birds including common, sandwich, little and arctic terns.

Victoria Egan, countryside manager for the National Trust Norfolk Coast, said: “If you see birds flying away from you or squawking it is a sign to go away. We are committed to protecting wildlife but we want visitors to come to the coast.”

The best way to protect animals on the point is to follow advice on signs and take notice of cordoned off areas.

Some of the main challenges to little terns in the summer are dogs on the beach, tides, natural predators and humans.

Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger on the point, said: “People should enjoy the beach but should be mindful that it is home to breeding terns. The vast majority of people come here because they are interested in wildlife but it takes one person to cause a disturbance.”

There are currently over 100 pairs of little terns, a rare species, on the point. They arrived from west Africa to breed in April and will leave early this month.

They are a schedule 1 protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and cannot be photographed unless a person has a licence from Natural England.

It is also illegal to damage a nest or egg of little, common, sandwich or arctic terns.

Call the police on 999 or 101 if you witness a wildlife crime.

Do you have a nature story? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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