As the little terns settle down to make their nests and begin laying their first eggs we have been watching a ringed plover nest with great interest. Seen mating very early in the season when we were putting up the rope fence on Eccles beach we eventually discovered a full clutch of four eggs on the shingle up by the dune. We calculated that the hatching date would be on or around Saturday 4th June - assuming a 24 day incubation period. On the Saturday therefore we were concerned to see that there was still one egg in the nest but three eggs missing and, more worryingly, no chicks to be seen. Ringed plover chicks are mobile from the moment they hatch (called ‘precocial’)and they are notoriously difficult to see against the shingle and sand. We searched the beach throughout the day and could not see any chicks. Early the following morning, Tom, the Assistant Warden on duty, saw a crow swoop down and carry off a ‘chick'. Could it be one of our ringed plovers? Could this explain why we could not find them? Had they all been predated at just a day old? Our hearts were heavy at the news of such an early loss of life. Later that day, whilst conducting a routine nest count of little terns, I thought I saw something move in the foreground of my binoculars. Refocusing to the area in question I saw a bundle of fluff on matchstick legs - unmistakably a ringed plover chick. Soon to be followed by two more bundles and a parent - ushering them all back to the safety of the marram grass from a trip to the foreshore. Our three chicks alive and well. What a wonderful site.