Wednesday 20 September 2023

Black Tern best of four tern species

The strong wind eased during the day, it started from the south but veered to the SW by mid morning. Heavy rain for most of the morning but a dry and sometimes sunny afternoon.

I had a walk along the sea wall in the morning (MD). Very little to see, largely as the tide was out and nothing much was feeding on the outflows (low water means the water at the intakes is shallow and less likely to hold large shoals of fish).
Mediterranean gulls 11 adult and 2nd calendar year feeding on the beach next to the wooden jetty (at least 12 around today as a 1st calendar year was seen in the afternoon).
Wheatear 2 
Rock Pipit 3

In the afternoon we had a three pronged strategy, with Jean scoping from the churchyard at Heysham Head, Pete scoping from Ocean Edge and me walking along the sea wall.
Report from Jean:
Gannet 3 adult - 2 out and 1 in distantly.
Manx Shearwater 1 out quite close in
Sandwich Tern 1 out
Little Gull 1 juvenile south

From Pete:
Mediterranean gull 1 1cy along the sea wall
Arctic Tern juvenile on the seaward side of No.1 outflow, then later it or another flew south with 
Common Tern 5, other Common Terns were still close in along the wall, there were at least 7 so 12 minimum number.
Black Tern 1 juvenile came in to No.2 outflow and stayed briefly. This was just before 14:00, an hour before high water.

Fortunately, I was just getting back to No.2 outflow then (MD). Looking out to the sea from the wall it was very difficult to track, it was flying very quickly over a large range. Not only that, but the strong light was behind it and its upper wings were more or less the same colour as the sea. No chance of a clip, I resorted to following it with my eyes and pointing my camera in roughly the right direction. I was quite pleased when I managed some half decent shots. They are heavily cropped, but only because in the original pictures they were right on the edge or corner of the frame.

Juvenile Black Tern

Sandwich Tern 1 briefly, probably Jean's bird passing through, as David Kaye also saw one fly south past the north wall.

The other terns were easier to photograph, mainly as they tended to feed from a limited area allowing the luxury of positioning myself at an angle away from the light. Even so the action was frantic. This short clip begins on the Sandwich Tern but there are also at least 5 Common Terns (watch in slow motion).

This clip also begins with the Sandwich Tern, then switches to a Common. Also in the clip, the 1st calendar year and a 2nd calendar year Mediterranean gull.

The gulls and terns weren't the only seabirds taking advantage of the Whitebait bonanza. No idea if
this is the same Guillemot as yesterday, but I'm sure that some nice easy fishing was very welcome.

Pink-Footed Goose 36 south 13:20