The nest count is always a bit of a nerve wracking task. We get everyone from Fluke Street together (difficult in itself, a bit like herding cats) and then we sweep in a coordinated fashion through the colony placing a small piece of bamboo next to each nest marking down the clutch size. This means that we can repeat the count in a week or so time and count any new nests that have appeared. We want to minimise disturbance so try to get everyone to move as quick as possible but with the eggs being so beautifully camouflaged every step has to be checked before you place your foot. To make matters worse some areas are littered with old snail shells left by the oystercatchers and these crunch in a horrifying way under your foot and make you think you are walking on egg shells.
After years of decline it is good to have an increase in tern nests but they are such flaky birds that it would be wrong to jump to too many conclusions. We just hope that the canes are making them feel more secure again gull predation but it is still a long way to go to reach the real aim of having fledged chicks leave the island.