Visitors to South Tyneside's coastline are urged to be mindful of a new nest of wading birds in a temporary protection zone on Jackie's Beach.
Ringed plover are small wading birds that nest on beaches. However, due to their numbers declining by over 50 per cent, they have been placed on Red List of conservation concern.
Jackie's Beach, in Whitburn, is known for having multiple pairs breed each year although most nests fail to fledge any chicks due to disturbance. Their brilliant camouflage allows them to be hidden in plain sight making them at risk of trampling from humans and dogs. This means that few, if any, chicks survive to fledge the nest.
This year, for the first time, South Tyneside Council is delivering a project with the landowner's permission, to help protect ringed plover nests.
Signage and temporary fencing have been put in place in the area advising the public to be aware of the nesting birds. The signs request people to keep dogs on leads and stay well clear of the fencing. Chicks will view humans as predators; therefore, they will lie flat on the ground and rely on their camouflage, increasing their chance of being crushed by people or dogs.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, said: "Jackie's Beach is a wildlife hot spot, from the nesting ringed plover to the vegetated upper beach hosting an array of wildflowers and butterflies along with a diversity of marine life in the intertidal zone and seals and dolphins offshore. It is important that we provide this wildlife with space, reducing our disturbance, so we can enjoy the wildlife from a distance. Although protected within the fence, disturbance can cause parents to abandon the eggs so please give the fenced area lots of space. Once the chicks hatch, they will be up within hours running across the beach, which is why giving that space and keeping dogs on leads reduces the chance of the chicks getting trampled both inside and outside the fenced area."
Posted On: 06/07/2023