Summer on Coquet Island
The once noisy gardens are silent, the cliffs are calm and the plateau is peaceful. The hustle and bustle of weary parents guarding and feeding their offspring has slowed to a steady relaxed pace. The adults arrived months ago, bringing thousands of new, tiny lives into the world, but their fluffy, helpless chicks have grown up; through constant care and steadfast determination families now stand proudly together around the shores of the island. It’s amazing to look back and see how far these families have come; now they all looking out towards the great North Sea, ready to begin their epic winter journeys.
Roseate terns are the rarest breeding seabird in the UK and this is their last stronghold, a dedicate team work around the clock to protect them and help conserve them. This year has been a really excellent year for them with 93 nesting pairs and 104 chicks ringed! Tom Cadwallender had even more to celebrate with the 1500th roseate tern chick ringed on Coquet Island, a real record as he has been ringing the Coquet roseates since 1991!
Now that the birds have begun to leave the real hard work starts! It takes a huge team of dedicated volunteers to prepare the island for next year. An epic task of ‘gardening’ an entire island must be completed before winter closes in and the island is cut off by storms. For now we can all have a break and reflect on what has been a really exceptional year for Coquet!
I am due to head south for winter with the terns, although I only have to travel as far as sunny Whitley Bay. With my project to write up I’ll have a busy winter but I’m already looking forward to being back on the island next year! Please keep an eye out for my colour ringed ‘seagulls’. I think they will be especially fond of fish and chip shops. I’ll visit Coquet regularly with continual updates of ‘the secret island’ over Autumn and Winter, but for now I am very much ready to enjoy some mainland luxuries like running water and electricity!