A WILDLIFE charity has asked for help from the public amid fears about a vulnerable bird species which makes its home in north Essex. 

Little terns are the UK’s smallest tern bird and one of the rarest breeding seabirds.

Their numbers have been declining since the 1980s.

They migrate from West Africa to the Essex coastline where they nest and breed.

Some of the main areas along the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries that they are often seen are Colne Point, Old Hall Marshes and Tollesbury Wick beach.

They weigh the same as a tennis ball and travel for 5000km to reach our coastline.

Coastal flooding and rising sea levels can cause nests to be flooded or washed away.

Human disturbance can also force birds to abandon their nests, which leaves the chicks and eggs vulnerable to predators and the cold.

Essex Wildlife Trust have collaborated with RSPB and Essex Marine Police in the Share our Shores campaign.

They suggest people know where they are, respect zoned-off areas, avoid disturbance by boat, back away and spread the word.

Rachel Langley, living seas coordinator at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be working with RSPB and the Essex Marine Police to protect our coastal wildlife.

“If we can raise public awareness and help people share our shores with beach-nesting birds, Essex’s coastal bird populations can thrive again.”