Marie Louise McConville
27 June, 2019 01:00
ONE of Europe's rarest breeding sea birds could be brought back from the brink in Northern Ireland following a major island restoration project.
The critically endangered Roseate terns have been in near-terminal decline since the late 1980s.
Blue Circle Island, part of the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird's (RSPB) Larne Lough reserve, is one of the most important sites in Ireland for breeding terns.
However, sea defences on the island collapsed and up to a third of it had eroded through flooding.
Now, a £391,000 of funding, with costs partially covered by the EU-funded Roseate Tern LIFE Recovery Project ,and additional match funding from Tarmac and the RSPB, the charity has been able to lead works to extend the nesting area, making it a prime potential site for a roseate tern colony, ahead of the 2019 breeding season.
While there were between 20 and 35 breeding pairs in Larne Lough between 1985 and 1989, just one pair has been recorded in recent years.