On the 18th of April our first common and little terns started arriving back and they’ve gotten up to 43 and 16 individuals respectively. Sandwich tern numbers have been increasing steadily up to a peak count of 1100. All tern species are now making scrapes and in a couple of weeks we’ll have a good idea of many are going to breed at Hodbarrow this year. Towards the end of May we should have our first black headed gull, and maybe sandwich tern, chicks but by early to mid-June, all going well, all the terns should have chicks.

Common terns making a scrape, look at those legs:

little terns are a bit harder to get a photo of:

common tern cutting some shapes with a stretch, ruffle and yawn:

The first youngsters to appear each year are the Canada geese goslings which have hatched from two nests on the island, a third is still to go. Chicks from one of the two moorhen nests have also hatched but they were so tightly snuggled under the parent that only a bit of black fluff could be seen. The pair of great crested grebes are still sitting on their newly remade nest as are oystercatchers, lapwing, ringed plover and eider.

Other regular visitors to the island have been a pair of shoveler, gadwall, tufted ducks, shelduck, wigeon, mallards, red breasted mergansers, common gulls, a heron and a couple of black tailed godwits.

The Mediterranean gull has also been joined by a second for the first time in years. Here’s hoping they nest at Hodbarrow one day.

The most unexpected and exciting visitor was a cattle egret! It was the first time I’d ever seen one. It popped in on a wet and wild day for shelter then reappeared a couple of days later for another visit.

Elsewhere Hodbarrow looks and smells like summer with gorgeous gorse and cowslips brightening up the place, hawthorn in flower everywhere and whitethroats and lesser whitethroats singing.