Well the breeding season is nearly over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  It has certainly had its ups and downs, with the weather presenting most of the problems.  Awful wind and rain that seemed never ending certainly dampened our enthusiasm to be out and about and of course a couple of storm surges took their toll on the gull colonies.  However for all of that the terns seem to have fared remarkably well.  I suppose if you're a true seabird that spends much of it's life dealing with the force of nature that are our oceans, an albeit unseasonable downpour that seemed to last for a couple of months during what should have been our summer is nothing.  The tern raft of course proved the biggest success and with the common terns recently failing to reproduce successfully in Langstone Harbour, this year has most definitely yielded a bumper crop.  So, here for you're delight are a few photo's taken over the last few weeks at the oyster beds.

Early May, more decoys on the raft than the real thing!


Late May, the storms hit, but the raft stays put!


Finally there are common terns in abundance and at one point it's standing room only ...

We mentioned previously how few fish had been caught on one of our regular surveys in the harbour, was this going to be a problem?  Well clearly not!  Fish was being bought in abundance and on many occasions it was a feeding frenzy as parents queued up to land on the raft with their catch.

What a whopper!


Anyone hungry?


Then more storm surges, but fortunately for the terns on the raft they appeared to be unaffected, though sadly a few common terns that had attempted to nest with the gulls didn't fair so well.

See how the nesting bank behind the raft is almost totally submerged - poor gulls!


Anyway, despite all of that dreadful weather, the dubious fish stocks and regular visits by predators such as peregrine falcons and med gulls, this is what happened .......

Doting parents accompanying their chick on its first flight


And not just one, but Langstone Harbour produced no fewer than 50 common tern fledglings this year, yipee!  So, I'm going to put one more photograph of these amazingly beautiful birds on, just for your delight and we shall be letting you have the final figures for all of the breeding birds very soon.

Anonymous