Looking back at the diary for 2015 I am reminded that our first little tern nest was recorded on 23 May. A year on and we are in a very different situation. The terns were delayed by several weeks this year when strong northerly winds kept them on the continent at the end of April. When at last the wind abated and we had a warm spell in early May they began to arrive - but not in the numbers that we were expecting or were used to. A fortnight later the situation has not changed substantially and certainly there is still not much evidence of courtship. At Winterton the number of terns fluctuated between 50 - 100 initially and then dwindled to less than 10 by mid-May. At nearby Eccles we counted 110 adults on 13th May but this had reduced to 55 by 16th May and only 20 birds on 18th May. So what is going on? We contact other project sites around the country and are reassured (if that's the right word) that they are witnessing the same scenario. Fewer adults returning from Africa combined with a seeming reluctance to nest.