Birds take a tern for the better

LITTLE terns will start arriving from Asia any day to nest on sandy shores and you will notice special cordoned areas at Woolgoolga and Sawtell.

The site near Hearnes Lake (right next to Willis Creek) is a significant breeding ground for the endangered migratory birds and measures are being taken - in both nesting grounds - to protect the tiny animals.

A collaborative program that has been running for the past few years means fences are constructed and a predator control plan is put in place from now until early next year.

The combined efforts of National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Coffs Harbour City Council and local volunteers has seen increasing numbers of the little terns take up residence for the nesting season and successfully breed on the Coffs Coast.

The council's senior biodiversity officer, Nigel Cotsell, said it was hard to find a balance between protecting the little terns and people's recreational activities on these popular beaches.

"The little terns are easily disturbed and when they are upset they leave," Mr Cotsell said.

"An exclusion zone for kite surfers has been put in place because the little terns see them as giant birds of prey. And dogs must be kept on leashes from 150 metres either side of the nesting sites.

Already red-capped plovers are nesting at the breeding site near Willis Creek, Woolgoolga, and Mr Cotsell said the little terns were due to arrive any day, with eggs hatching around Christmas. If anyone is interested in volunteering to monitor the little tern nesting sites, they should contact NPWS on 6652 0900.