Tuesday 8 May 2012

Terned up just in time

The Roseate Tern is actually a very striking bird, even these crap shots show the general paleness of the plumage; the shortness of the wings; the length of the streamers; the lack of trailing edge on the primaries, and the thin dark strip in the outer primaries

The message came through this morning that there was a Roseate Tern at the Walton-on-Thames reservoir complex. Roseate Terns are some of the most elegant British birds going but I still couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to go out of my way and bunk into a private site just so I could have it on my London and Surrey lists (as I've said before these are the lists I have the least concern for). I concluded that, as it's such a good bird, I'd go after college if it stuck around. Roy connected less than an hour before I arrived. After making my way through the scrupulous security at QE2, I scanned towards Knight & Bessborough Reservoirs and found a small group of Common Terns but there was no rosey. Paul and Colin Manville arrived and a larger group of terns soon came in, the Roseate Tern amongst them - as they do, it shone like a light in the flock. They flew across QE2 and seemd to go south west-ish. We thought they returned but this flock was bigger and contained no Roseate so was probably a new flock coming in. Low and behold, the Roseate was later picked up at Staines so had indeed left as we suspected.

A very good find by Dave Harris.