Blogger - Erica Howe, Communications Manager
I am a self-confessed list girl. I make lists for all kinds of things. My day at work, food shopping, chores, going on holiday. Post-it notes are now a handbag staple. This then becomes a pretty futile exercise because I have so many of them that I don't know where to start and I need another list! As i've gone through different points in my life, my priorities have changed and the jobs at the top of my lists have altered. It's no longer neon pink nail varnish that I pop into town for on a Saturday afternoon, but domestic utensils like chopping boards or plant pots (it's like a movie blockbuster isn't it?). I often wonder how much simpler life would be if I threw my list notepad out of the window? As long as I eat, sleep and drink then everything else can take it's natural course and not be forced by my over active organised list-keeping.
All of these thoughts were going through my mind as i drove along the Norfolk coast towards Gt. Yarmouth the other day. As i looked out to sea, the sky had turned an angry grey and the sea was responding with crashes of vigour. Further in the distance i could see what looked like a tiny paper plane; it was a little tern, fragile and delicate as the wind decided it's fate. It looked so vulnerable, Its graceful silhouette against this intimidating backdrop. For these creatures, life is about one thing and one thing only. Survival. If they don't feed themselves and their young, they will cease to exist. And this patch of the coast is no drop in the ocean. These little terns, make up the largest colony in Europe. They are beginning to spread their nesting sites along the coast now and you can see them at Caistor, as well as other coastal sites.
I don't imagine that little terns make lists to prioritise their days, but if they did it would probably go like this... 1. make sure nest is well protected 2. look out for any predators 3. head out in search of food 3. don't come back to nest site empty-handed 4. head out a bit further for food 5. feed chicks 6. look out for predators, and so the pattern would form. In our modern world, species like little terns are becoming increasing affected by man-made problems and one job at the top of the RSPB's list, is to make sure that this colony of little terns is well protected. The colony at Caistor is monitored and watched by RSPB staff and volunteers. And you can go down and see them for yourself, to witness one of nature's most elegant creatures.
As i write this, i'm not convinced that my list-writing ways will ever change, but I will certainly make sure that re-visiting these little terns is high up on my next one!
as featured in Saturday's Eastern Daily Press
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