THE region has seen 'high success' in its marine life recording project and a 'very good year' for a species of bird, a wildlife review has shown.

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust is celebrating the success of its breeding project of little terns on Teesside, with an estimation of 40 chicks fledging this year.

The birds relocated from Crimdon to a very popular stretch of beach at Seaton Carew, prompting a scramble to enclose the area and provide a warden service to protect the nests and chicks through two months of hot and busy summer days, nights and weekends.

An impromptu partnership was formed between Durham Wildlife Trust, Hartlepool Borough Council, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, INCA, and Teesmouth Bird Club to ensure the birds were undisturbed.

Also this year, a new citizen science project recording sighting of whales, dolphins and porpoise off Yorkshire’s east coast had a highly successful first year.

A network of 30 volunteers trained by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Sea Watch Foundation became the ‘eyes and ears’ of the coast and spent over 330 hours surveying from 30 different locations.

The volunteers logged 320 individual sightings including minke whales, bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoise.

Photographs identified one pod of bottlenose dolphins and showed they’d journeyed from Scotland. The sighting off Flamborough Head was the furthest south they have been officially identified.

Bex Lynam, North Sea Wildlife Trusts’ marine advocacy officer said: “It’s likely the bottlenose dolphins came south following shoals of fish; it’s thrilling to see playful dolphins and ocean giants like whales.

"Ten years ago, seeing a bottlenose dolphin off the Yorkshire coast would have been rare. We need to collect more data about how and why they are using these waters if we are to better protect them.

"The role of citizen scientists in recording these animals, as well as changes in the marine environment is really important.”

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust also this year secured funding for its WilderCoast campaign, which will allow them to employ a WilderCoast project officer.

Jacky Watson, Tees Valley Wild Trusts’ WilderCoast officer said: “The Wilder Coast project aims to inspire local people and visitors to help protect our amazing coastal habitats and species.

"From wading birds to whales and dolphins, from seashells to sand dunes, we’ll be exploring it all.

"We will work with local groups, families, schools and colleges, offering activities to explore the shore and experience our coastal wildlife up close.”