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Building tern terraces on Coquet Island

A team of enthusiastic Coast Care volunteers recently embarked on an exciting adventure to assist the RSPB team in preparing tern terraces Coquet Island. With an invitation from RSPB island warden Ibrahim Alfarwi, we hopped onto a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) at Amble Marina and made our way to Coquet Island.

Our mission was to get the tern terraces ready for the upcoming nesting season. This involved some serious manual labour as we shovelled shale from a small beach on the island's east side and transported it by wheelbarrow, carefully maneuvering through the colony to avoid disturbing puffin burrows in the ground as well as nests and brooding birds. The shale was then spread across the tern terraces, creating an enhanced habitat for these beautiful seabirds.

Time was of the essence as we had to work within weather and tidal constraints. It called for quick and focused effort, but with the help of many hands the workload felt lighter. We were blessed with clear skies and breathtaking views at first, but as the afternoon progressed, the weather took an unpredictable turn . For the safety of the Coast Care volunteers, we had to leave the island earlier than planned and head back to the mainland. Thankfully, the RSPB team was exceptional in assessing and responding to the changing conditions promptly ensuring everyone's well-being. Despite the abrupt end to our time on the island, our efforts were rewarded in more ways than one, as we were accompanied by a curious seal colony around our boat!

We’re incredibly thankful to the Coast Care volunteers who worked so hard to contribute to the preservation of the island’s delicate ecosystem. Huge thanks also go to Ibrahim Alfarwi for the invite and his invaluable facilitation of the trip and Janet Fairclough of the RSPB for her help on the day.

If you’d like to get involved in helping conserve and protect the Northumberland coast, you can contact me, Emma, Volunteering and Access Officer directly at

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