The Chesil Beach Little Tern Project has been awarded by the RSPB for their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project works to conserve and protect Little Terns, a rare and declining species of seabird.
During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the project was limited to just 17 volunteer wardens and the work the team did throughout this time was recognised by the RSPB.
Dan Bartlett, visitor centre assistant for the Dorset Wildlife Trust and volunteer for the Little Tern project at Chesil beach said: “It was quite a challenge for the volunteer team.
“We had to do double shifts, we weren’t allowed to use hides to avoid bad weather due to the risk of infection, we had to use our own notebooks for daily observations, and use facebook and text messages to keep in touch which was a challenge.
“We estimated that 47% of the day time shifts were covered over a 73 day period by just 17 people which was a big effort. And in recognition of that, the team of 17 volunteers were awarded the RSPB Presidents award this year, so we’re all quite proud of that.”
The birds are the second rarest breeding seabird in the UK with an estimated 1600 pairs left. This follows reductions in the size and number of colonies nationwide.
However, during COVID the project was able to increase the number of Little Terns. Dan Bartlett said: “Out of 50 plus chicks that hatched only 3 made it onto the air in 2021 but in 2020 we got 30 chicks into the air.”
The team of volunteers are still working with Dorset Wildlife trust and the RSPB to aid in the conservation and progression of the rare sea bird. Check out more on their website.