Monday, 30 July 2012

Pectoral x 2 + Caspian Tern

Sorry for no postings for a while, I've been busy with other things and birding! I've been out quite a lot (as is usual) and so can't cover everything (as is usual), so I'll just go through some of my personal highlights.

Seawatching over past few weeks has been poor for me with Puffin and Manx Shearwaters being the only notable highlight, but a day out in Northumberland (rare for me now) produced good views of my first Arctic Skuas of the year and some dot-Roseate Terns on Coquet Island. I saw a Pectoral Sandpiper in the 18th of June at Greatham Creek, do you not feel robbed if you don't see one at least once a year? Anyway it performed well in diabolically blowy conditions! The same day a Caspian Tern in Norfolk was nagging me, a species I've been droning on about for a few months now. They are notorious for being very mobile and staying twitchable for the whole of about 10 minutes so it was a surprise to see this bird although mobile still present. I couldn't resist and the next day saw me driving down during the forsaken hours of the morning to Sheffield then hopping cars and onto Norfolk with Tom.

We arrived at Breydon Water RSPB and parked in the ASDA car park turn 7ish. No sign.... urgh, the groans started. Another one to wait years for, but I thought it would be best if we moved onto Buckenham Marshes RSPB in the hope of connecting. On the road back down to Buckenham Marshes RSPB the new broke it was still present on the small pool to the east of the windmill, panic set in. Some 20 mins later (its a long walk from the car park!) we were nearly there when over the broad I picked up what was clearly a large tern, as it came closer it was evidently the Caspian Tern. Get in, I punched the air with joy. The bird went missing for around 10 minutes before literally appearing out of nowhere and descending back onto the small pool where it was favouring. On deck it was good to be able to study it properly and really enjoy it for the beast it was! Although nice on deck it came into its own in flight, from behind as it flew over toward Strumpshaw Fen RSPB to feed it reminding me of a Gannet, not in terms of plumage just the flight style. Not quite like a Gull and more elegant like a Gannet, made a mental note of that for future reference, you never know! I made extensive notes on the bird, but they are long and the images are pretty much self explanatory so I'll whack them up below. We also had cracking views of a Barn Owl and Hobby, I also got Egyptian Goose for my 'Birds seen sitting on a post in Norfolk' list. I was overjoyed the Caspian Tern performed well and it was a real treat indeed, mega!

(Caspian Tern - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Caspian Tern - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

Yesterday (29th) I made an evening visit to Castle Lake DBC to see another Pectoral Sandpiper, this time far better views were obtained and was a pleasure to watch it wading about in front of the Durham Bird Club hide, the reserve is truly excellent and surely its a matter of time before a mega is found here. I have seen 2 Pectoral Sandpipers together here in the past which was pretty awesome! 2 Common Sandpipers in the same area was good to see and flock of Snipe was most welcome. Today I was down Saltholme RSPB and this time the birding was pretty good, the last few times I have been down its been really dead and pretty hard work to see anything! 2 Marsh Harriers and another White-winged Black Tern being the obvious highlights, nothing much else of note apart from 2 Little Gulls.

Until next time, Foghorn out!


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers Alan, amazing birds! Another one of my birds of the year I reckon.