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Science
THE LIVING WORLD
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Sunday 06:35-07:00
The Living World is a gentle weekend natural history programme, presented by Lionel Kelleway, which aims to broadcast the best, most intimate encounters with British wildlife.
nhuradio@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 25min
Listen to 10 September
PRESENTER
LIONEL KELLEWAY
Lionel Kelleway
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Sunday 10 September 2006
Ian Killeen and Evelyn Moorkens
Lionel Kelleway with Mark Smart and Rick Southwood surveying the North Dennes Beach in Great Yarmouth.

Little Tern on the Beach

In the first of a new series, Lionel Kelleway is joined by Mark Smart of the RSPB for a visit to Britain 's largest colony of Britain 's rarest tern - the little tern.

On North Denes Beach, the colony is a short step from the main holidaymakers at Great Yarmouth - yet this year, the colony has been a spectacular success. A dedicated project to protect the birds, run by the RSPB and English Nature, with the co-operation of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is reaping rewards - with over 350 nests the colony is enjoying record numbers of fledged birds.  In addtion, it has become quite a popular attraction for visitors and schoolchildren in the local area.

The little tern is a summer visitor to Britain and the beaches of the South East provide favoured breeding grounds for the terns. But because they favour beaches that are characteristically similar to those favoured by humans for recreation, the little tern frequently needs assistance and protection to ensure breeding success in the UK.

Lionel Kelleway is privileged to be allowed to walk through the colony in the careful guidance of Mark Smart, who manages the little tern project at Great Yarmouth. Just how the birds locate their highly camouflaged eggs in nests that are no more than rough scrapes of sand, amongst millions of similarly coloured pebbles is just one of the puzzles of this amazing story. And looking at a nestling scrabbling around in the sand, you can but marvel at the fact that it is just weeks away from having to make a solo flight to West Africa, where little terns spend the winter months.

The spectacular success at Great Yarmouth is in contrast to much of the rest of the UK, where little terns have been struggling, and it is hoped that the success at Great Yarmouth this year will give the littler tern a much needed boost for the future.
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