OK, so I had to take this seriously. But I've seen Rockhoppers
on the television, they come ashore en masse, squabble and are
quite happy to push and shove. What could we do? Fortunately
Mr Strange had foreseen many of the problems and, with his knowledge
of the birds, was able to put forward solutions to cope with
the limitations that any affordable counting system was going
Firstly the colony is a little unusual in that it is on a cliff
top that has only one access to the sea, up a narrow gully.
This gully could be artificially narrowed to ensure that the
birds came up in single file. The birds could be separated by
placing a small barrier or a step in the gully to make sure
that they only came through one at a time.
A subsequent meeting laid down the other important criteria
such as the working environment and the need for a car battery
as the power supply. A quotation was produced by Boa, which
detailed the specification as discussed. Shortly after this
we received an order and work was to commence immediately. It
was already too late to catch the start of the breeding season
at the end of September, but if final delivery to the Falklands
was early enough in the breeding season maximum use could be
made of the new counter. We set ourselves a target of six weeks
from order to delivery. But was this achievable?