Living amongst so many wonderful birds it would be silly to have a favourite and if I did it would change each day but I do have a bit of a soft spot for terns. As a manager of a reserve with terns then they do give you a bit of a headache. You don’t even know if they are going to come back each year, the whole colony can just upsticks and go elsewhere. Even when the are back on site you never quite know where they are going to breed. Last year they were equally spread between the Beacon and Kirkhaven, this year they are definitely in force around Kirkhaven and spreading into new areas down there. And then once they start breeding they take a lot of your time and energy trying to give them the best conditions to breed successfully while managing visitors to allow them to have a good view of the terns but not close enough to affect the breeding. And even when you are trying to help them they give you a right doing, like when we put out canes as aerial defence against the gulls.
But despite of all this, the island wouldn’t be the same without them. They are so beautiful to watch, their clamour reaches all the island, their flying is breathtaking and they seem to have a bright spark of life burning within them. i could watch them all day.
So one unforeseen bonus of the new visitor centre is how close it allows people to get to the terns. At the moment the terns are starting to settle down within meters of the viewing deck giving visitors and photographers just fantastic views of the birds just getting on with their own business. So if you think terns are brilliant or want to find out if they are brilliant or not then maybe it is time you crossed the water, braved the terns special welcome and spent a stint of time on the deck just watching them. And let me know if you agree with me.