Sunday, 19 April 2009

19th April 2009

I was at the lakes again this morning, mainly to see if the Arctic terns were still around. More about that later.

Birds of note included several blackcaps, a couple of willow warblers, four mute swans, two greylag geese, many swallows, a few house martins, a drake pochard on Windmill Pool, two grey wagtails, and a whitethroat in the scrub behind Windmill Pool.

Following last week's bird, another oystercatcher flew north over Windmill Pool at 7:40am, then headed east and wasn't seen again.

I spotted a female mallard with a brood of three in one of the channels next to the path that runs along Windmill Pool.

Getting back to the terns, I counted seven birds on arrival, but was unable to categorically identify any as Arctic terns. However, whilst walking around Windmill Pool, a bird perched on the upturned buoy in the centre of the pool looked interesting.

Fortunately, the bird stayed put until I got round to the other side, from where I had better views. I couldn't see any black tip to the bill. The tail appeared to project further than the primaries, and the legs appeared short. There was also clear demarcation between its white cheek and greyish underparts. On that evidence alone I was happy to record this bird as an Arctic tern.

Soon afterwards, another tern landed next to it. This looked like a common tern to me, appearing slightly larger than the first bird and with none of the features mentioned above being immediately obvious.

However, both birds took flight and were soon joined by a third tern. All these birds appeared to have long tail streamers in flight. They rose to a reasonable height and circled a few times. At this point I lost sight of two of them. The third bird headed off in a northwesterly direction and I soon lost sight of that one too. This all took place at about 8:50am.

I believe three Arctic terns were reported yesterday, so looking at all the evidence, I would say that these were the same birds, and it will be interesting to see if there are any further sightings later today.

Before I left, I counted five birds, so I may have missed one first thing. I identified two of them as common terns. I look forward to any further news regarding these birds over the next few days.

1 comment:

midlands birder said...

i visited the arctics too on saturday but when i was there i only had 2 but its a great lifer that preformed well at close range