By mid August I have found 11 eggs & young larvae in 9 hours of searching, at 1.22 per hour, compared with 37 in 16 hours 30 mins at 2.24 per hour by this time last year. Brother Dennis has found 6 in 8.5 hours searching, which is poor by his standards. Both searches were made in areas searched during the corresponding period last year. Importantly, 7 of my 11 must have been laid as eggs before the mid July gales - and, crucially, only 4 thereafter. Yet the females were only just getting into the swing of egg laying prior to the St Swithin's gale, and should have laid the bulk of there eggs after that date.
It seems that the gale killed off a great many adults prematurely, perhaps especially the females (though why that should be I know not). Certainly, I struggled to see females after that date, and I was seriously looking.
At this range, the prospects for the 2011 season cannot be good... .