New wardens appointed to help protect birds' nesting site on Durham coastline

From left, Ruth Smith, Liz Shaw and Coralie Niven. Inset, a little tern at Crimdon.
From left, Ruth Smith, Liz Shaw and Coralie Niven. Inset, a little tern at Crimdon.

Two new wardens have been appointed to protect a colony of endangered birds.

Liz Shaw and Ruth Smith will monitor and guard the little tern nesting site at Crimdon Beach on behalf of the Heritage Coast Partnership.

A little tern at Crimdon.

A little tern at Crimdon.

Earlier this month, Durham Police issued a warning to a dog owner for encouraging his pets to enter a fenced-off area aimed at protecting the colony.

The birds, who fly from West Africa each year to breed at Crimdon, can also suffer from accidental disturbance as they are a ground-nesting species.

Liz and Ruth are graduates of Durham Wildlife Trust’s volunteer reserves officer scheme.

Their duties will include gathering data to build awareness of the bird’s importance.

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.” Little terns first started nesting at Crimdon in 1995.

While they are in decline nationally through a combination of climate change, disturbance and predators, the east Durham site is now recognised as one of the most successful breeding

colonies in the UK.

Find out more about the project by talking to the wardens at their hut near Pony World, Crimdon, or by visiting

For more information on volunteering opportunities with Durham Wildlife Trust, email