Northumberland Seabird Sanctuary faces threats from rogue paddlers and kayakers
Large numbers of ‘rogue’ paddleboarders and kayakers threaten a bird sanctuary island in Northumberland that is home to Britain’s rarest breeding seabird and these humans are causing major disruption.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Coquet Island site manager Dr Paul Morrison said in his 37 years of work he noticed so many changes, but this one is among the most serious.
He said: “We’ve had a season of disturbances. There are paddleboards everywhere. And some of these groups of kayaks are there almost every day, and constant disturbance could mean the birds are not settling in. , or they drop their eggs, or the eggs get cold. “
He said they had to do something about them, revealing that workers were still monitoring the island and had a very experienced security system recommended by police. But there are one or two who don’t know, or who ignore the law and take the risk.
Morrison said: “We’ve tried to get the point across, but there’s always a rogue element that doesn’t respect birds.”
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Coquet Island is home to the only breeding colony of Roseate Terns in the UK, as well as approximately 1,400 pairs of Arctic terns and 30,000 pairs of puffins. By the 1970s their numbers were as low as 16 breeding pairs of Roseate Terns in the UK and that number has grown to over 100 due to conservation efforts.
Coquet Island became a chosen sanctuary in 1979, which means it is protected year round from disturbance and landings, and it is illegal to violate these rules.
Morrison said: “The police made it clear to us that this was not just an offense for [intruders], it is an offense to us if we do not intervene and do something about the disturbance. At one time there were only egg thieves, it was bad enough, but now it’s double – we have egg thieves and disturbances. “
He also said they are making efforts to ensure kayakers and paddleboarders do not approach within 20 meters of the island, adding that disturbing beach birds can elicit a “second response.” wave “, also causing nesting birds to disappear.
Apparently, after Covid, so many people have just started visiting the waters because they would like to have a little more freedom, but individuals need to give the island a little respect, Morrison said.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Roseate Tern – Sterna dougallii – is a seabird belonging to the tern family Sternidae. The Roseate Tern has several geographic breeds that vary primarily in beak color and slight plumage details.
Sterna dougallii breeds on Atlantic coasts of North America and Europe, and winters S to W Africa and Caribbean.
Sterna dougallii bangsi and Sterna dougallii korustes which are the tropical forms are resident breeders from East Africa across the Indian Ocean to Japan
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