Whilst waiting for the little terns to arrive from West Africa our little tern volunteer wardens are out and about on the east coast looking for evidence of breeding ringed plover. They nest earlier than little terns and by April are already courting and looking for suitable breeding sites. 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the Ringed Plover Survey - an annual count of the numbers of breeding pairs along the Norfolk coastline. Needless to say their numbers are declining and as ground-nesting birds they face similar threats to little terns - human disturbance being one of the major problems. To alleviate the pressure on the plovers and give them some space on the beaches we create large fenced areas in early April using rope. These may eventually be the location of our little tern colonies and these two species will happily breed side by side. Our findings show that ringed plovers are generally more successful at breeding when they benefit from the fencing and intensive wardening which we provide to the little terns. Last year at Eccles, where we had 24/7 surveillance of the little tern colony, we had four pairs of ringed plover and between them they fledged 13 young. Contrast this with the same number of pairs found at North Denes, Great Yarmouth, but which had no fledglings at all. There will be many stretches of beach which are not fenced and yet may have pairs of ringed plover attempting to nest. As the weather improves and we begin to spend more time at the coast please consider whether there might be birds nesting along the beach. Keep to the water’s edge or stay on wet sand to minimise the likelihood of accidentally trampling on their nests. BirdLife Netherlands has produced a short animated clip showing the stresses and dangers that beach-nesting species face. Please take a look.