For the past two weeks the final group of 20 or so fledglings and large chicks had moved out of the relative safety of the electric fence and had chosen to stay close to the water’s edge - easier for parents to feed them, not so easy for us wardens to protect them. The hobby, we think, had driven these last birds out of the fenced area and down to the foreshore where the wet, dark shingle provided perfect camouflage for their mottled brown feathers. At high tide, when the water reached beyond the shingle, the fledglings would excavate a small hollow in the wet sand and sink down low so that only the top of their heads was visible. A perfectly good strategy against predators like hobby as I witnessed on numerous occasions. The hobby would fly over the fenced area and land in the middle of the beach. Sensing the arrival of the hobby all adult little terns seem to fly out to sea leaving their offspring alone on the foreshore - hidden by shingle or half-submerged in the sand. They were instructed (?) to neither move or emit a sound - and they did not. After a short while the hobby would fly off believing that the beach held no prey for it. And a short while later the adults would return to their young bringing with them a sandeel or small fish. I would breathe a sigh of relief until the next time… We counted the days until the young birds would be ready to leave (and escape the perils of the hobby) and at last their numbers began to dwindle so that each day we had three or four fewer birds - taken off by their parents who had managed to entice them away from the foreshore with fish in their beaks. Until finally all the fledglings had gone when we arrived on 18 August. They had left overnight or early that morning and had joined, we hope, the other little terns which comprise the east Norfolk population on Scroby Sands. There they will learn to dive and fish for themselves before starting their journey south in a few weeks. Photo Credit: Fabienne Fossez.