Three National Trust rangers have moved into a lifeboat house on a remote shingle spit to monitor a colony of one of the UK’s rarest seabirds through the breeding season.
Rangers will live on site at Blakeney Point on the north Norfolk coast for eight months, from March to October, warding off predators to help threatened little terns.
Assisted by around 30 volunteers, the trio will also count nests and fledglings, and speak to visitors to limit disturbance to the ground nesting birds.
Blakeney Point is also an internationally important nesting site for common and Sandwich terns.
The conservation charity said as many as 25% of the UK’s population of Sandwich terns and 16% of the little terns have sought to breed at Blakeney Point in recent years.
Its remote and wild landscape provides a perfect habitat for residential and migrating wildlife, the National Trust said.
Duncan Halpin, National Trust ranger for the Norfolk coast and Broads, has moved back into the lifeboat house for his third year.
He said: “The first tern nests are expected from late April, beginning with Sandwich terns, and then from mid-May onwards little terns will arrive.
“Little terns are one of the UK’s rarest seabirds and are afforded the utmost protection from disturbance.
“With such a low population concentrated only on a handful of sites around the country, protecting these is paramount to ensure their survival.”
He urged visitors to follow signage and always watch their step as birds do not obey fence lines.
“Walking down at the water’s edge is usually the safest thing to ensure as little disturbance as possible,” he said.