Wednesday, 3 June 2015

For you know I'd even try to turn the tide

Alas, after such a positive start to the season, our fortunes did not last.

The Terns and I survived the unruly wind and rain all day Monday (see how the wind took half of our Warden Flag - raised 24/7, because we are here 24/7!). The weather eased and calmed by sunset, but there were indicators that something was coming – Manx Shearwater were visible from the shore and a large pod of Common Dolphin passed very close, both telling of storms far out to sea. 

The wind took half our flag off!
 That night, the tide came in… and kept coming in further… and further … and further. The unusually high tide surge, probably pushed by a sea storm, obliterated our seaward fence and claimed many nests in the colony.When I rolled into bed on Monday night, we had a colony-count of 51 active nests and 136 eggs. On rolling back out Tuesday morning, we had 41 active nests and 108 eggs. Altogether, 10 nests were lost. It was a sad old morning surveying the damage from the bird-hide: many Little Terns were sitting on top of the fencing and seaweed that had buried their eggs.

Seaward fence torn down by the tide

On a happier note, 7 new nests were found after the tidal sweep. Thus, the Tern facts and figures are currently at: 48 active nests (out of a total of 62 nesting attempts) and 119 eggs. Not a bad way to be indeed! It is so early in the season that many Terns who lost their nests are likely to re-lay, and sure enough, many Terns were observed digging scrapes and sampling nest spots today.

Susan and Paddy

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