Work to protect a Denbighshire bird colony is worthy of international significance according to a major annual report on UK nature.

The Council’s Countryside Service Gronant Little Terns project has been listed as a positive example for protecting wildlife in the latest State of Nature Report.

The State of Nature Report 2023 is split into the individual UK countries and is produced through a collaboration of over 60 biodiversity and nature related group partners.

Species studied by the collaboration have on average declined by 19 percent since monitoring started in 1970. The declines are much higher for some groups including birds, which stands at a 43 percent loss.

However, the State of Nature Report highlights the Little Terns Project as a positive piece of conservation work of ‘international significance’.

Countryside Service teams and local volunteers have dedicated nearly 20 years to protecting and managing the Little Terns colony at Gronant Dunes.

The site is the largest breeding colony found in Wales, contributing to over 10 percent of the entire UK breeding population as well as supplementing other colonies.

Little Terns spend the winter in Africa, they arrived at the dunes in May to breed on the shingled beach in a protected site prepared in April by Countryside staff and volunteers. They start flying back south at the end of August. This season 155 fledglings were recorded at the site and in 2022, 211 breeding pairs were monitored.

The report also recognised the work of the staff and volunteers to protect the site by highlighting that the colony growth is ‘likely driven by high levels of breeding success rather than by recruitment of adults fledged from other UK colonies’.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Countryside staff and many volunteers work tirelessly throughout the season to protect and support this important colony we have in Denbighshire. It is great to see their efforts highly recognised as a positive step forward in reversing the decline of our bird populations across the UK.