Tuesday 19 September 2023

Black Tern best of three tern species

A very strong and gusty SW wind. Some heavy showers made viewing difficult.

Report from Pete - Seen from Stone Jetty heading towards Heysham mid range.
Artic Tern 1 juvenile and just 1/4 mile behind
Black Tern 1 juvenile 
23 Mediterranean gull on red nab early doors with mass departure of 13 close together towards lune and the rest in dribs and drabs leaving only 2-3 when the tide started covering the rocks 

South shore (MD)
12:00 - 13:30
This first walk was almost the opposite to yesterday. It was reasonably dry as I walked out but the heavens opened as I reached No.1 outflow. The rain, coupled with the sea spray made visibility terrible!
Mediterranean gull 2 - a 2nd calendar year flew across the harbour mouth and an adult followed the ferry in. This is the 2cy, by this time I was out of the rain, sheltering behind the lighthouse.

Kittiwake 4 - 3 x 1st calendar year plus 1 x 2nd calendar year 
There were at least two terns on No.1 outflow, one adult Common and a juvenile, but the weather was so difficult it wasn't possible to tell if it was an Arctic or a Common. Not only was there rain and sea spray, the squall also had increased wind strength making keeping balance almost impossible. This clip is really just to show the conditions although there are glimpses of the adult Common Tern.

By the time I got back to Red Nab the rain had eased, but the wind still viscous! This adult Common Tern was having a bath. Sorry about the jerky camerawork, but it does reflect the day.

After its bath it had a preen then braced itself against the wind on the Red Nab rocks

Guillemot 1 - battling against the waves in front of the foreshore rocks

Eventually it managed to reach a safer distance from the rocks
Wheatear 2
Rock Pipit 3

It had been wild indeed, I hadn't seen another soul, only a fool would venture along the wall in those conditions.......so I went back again in the early evening 16:00 - 17:00. The rain wasn't so bad this time and visibility was much better, but it was still windy.
Arctic Tern 1 juvenile on No.1 outflow. Probably the one seen by Pete this morning heading in this direction, and almost certainly the same juvenile I'd seen here earlier.

Juvenile Arctic Tern

Common Tern 3 at least - 2 adult and a 2nd calendar year
2nd calendar year Common Tern

All the birds were regularly "catching" fish (picking them out of the water is a more realistic term). So there are still plenty of easy pickings on the outflows. This is the 2cy Common with a fish.
Pete says that the Black Terns used to routinely feed on the outflows and hang around a while. There is no reason why they shouldn't at the moment, perhaps tomorrow........

First calendar year Common Gull