A CAMPAIGN has been launched in a bid to protect birds nesting on Essex beaches.

Essex Wildlife Trust is working together with Bird Aware Essex and the RSPB in a campaign called Share our Shores.

The want to raise awareness of beach-nesting birds and their vulnerable nests at the coast. 

Birds such as the ringed plover, oystercatcher, and little tern have been facing declines since the 1980s, with nesting often failing due to numerous pressures, including human disturbance.

During the summer many people head to the beach, but that can endanger beach-nesting birds as their well-camouflaged eggs which are easily stood on.

Other activities including water sports and dog walking can disturb the nesting parents, causing birds to abandon their vulnerable chicks and eggs to predators and harsh weather.

Awareness - Be aware of birds such as this oystercatcher nest on a shingled beach in EssexAwareness - Be aware of birds such as this oystercatcher nest on a shingle beach in Essex (Image: Essex Wildlife Trust)

Essex Wildlife Trust is urging the public to follow some simple guidelines to ensure endangered beach-nesting birds can lay their eggs and raise their chicks safely.

Know where they are: Colne Point, Old Hall Marshes and Tollesbury Wick beach are amongst the main sites along the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries for breeding birds.  

Respect zoned-off areas: If you see signs and rope, this is a no-go zone from April to August as these sites are protected for wildlife.  

Avoid disturbance by boat: Only land boats on designated moorings and landing areas, keep water sports away from the shoreline, and minimise noise near breeding sites.   

Back away: If you see a breeding species, back away> Short, sharp alarm calls will warn you that you are too close to young birds.   

Spread the word: Raise awareness of beach-nesting birds and report bad behaviour to local wildlife crime officers by calling the police on 101.  

Essex Wildlife Trust coastal ranger Adam Nixon said: “We monitor our beach-nesting bird populations closely each year because they are so vulnerable to human and natural pressures.

“Seeing the first few chicks tottering along the Essex coastline is a special sight and we want to give these chicks the best chance at surviving.

"It’s almost impossible to spot a nest upon the beach sometimes, so respecting our Share our Shores signs and spreading the word is a great way to support wildlife.” 

For more information visit essexwt.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/share-our-shores.