Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hope for little terns' revival at Langstone Harbour

Little tern chick Image copyright Rspb
Image caption The little tern chicks are vulnerable to predators and disturbance on the beach

Conservationists working to return one of the country's rarest seabirds to a Hampshire beach, say they have seen the first signs of a revival.

No little tern chicks have been raised at Langstone Harbour since 2011, when nests were swept away in storms.

The RSPB said there were now about 30 nests, although the chicks were still vulnerable to predators.

About 500 tonnes of aggregate were added to South Binness Island in 2013 to protect nesting areas.

It was hoped that raising the height of the beach would help prevent nests from being washed out by higher tides.

Wez Smith, RSPB Langstone Harbour site manager, said lower fish stocks in the harbour also meant the parent birds "will have to work very hard to find enough food".

"Hopefully they'll be able to raise their families within sight of Portsmouth's skyline again.

"The Solent's little terns have been in a worrying decline for some time now and these new broods of young represent real hope for the future," he added.

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