Saturday, 7 April 2018

Lots to catch up with

Not that it has been non stop or anything, but the Wheatear was nice and getting Sand Martin same day was also good.

A day pause on the 1st April with nothing new, then Tim James got a lovely early Common Tern on BSL, which I also made it to see. My earliest by a mile.

The next day (3rd)  I got in a quick car park field recky and got another Wheatear very distantly on the landfill. I also heard a Hawfinch go over. I was ill with tonsilitis and what with the flooding making things near impossible anyway I gave up, but toward the end of the day I gave the car park field another quick look around in the rare sunshine.

Almost immediately I was rewarded with my first 2 Swallow, looping over the bottom end of the car park field towards Lavell's. I was looking at my phone and when I looked up saw 4 long necked ducks coming in fast from the North over Lavell's. They were up high enough to stay on and it was easy to see they were 4 Pintail, getting the scope on the them it became obvious it was 2 pairs.

The 4th I slept in and stayed home to try and rest and get better, late morning Geoff texted saying a Tern went by LFGP toward DP and looked a bit Arctic like.

I was at the door and the breezy but showery weather might help my health, so headed out. I found the bird immediately with Alan and we watched it sat for 10 minutes, after which it flew about and returned 2-3 times over the next hour. The weather was pretty rubbish really so light pretty poor.

The Tern had a dainty jizz, light and bouyant flight, snatched food from the surface like a marsh tern.

Plumage : Long'ish but not extensively long tail streamers, not long bodied. Wings had typical dark edge on under side for Arctic, but the upper wing was a bit more confusing with 4-5 primaries having small smudgey grey marks running up the shafts, not a long way and subtle, but easily visible.

When perched it's bill was black from tip to about half way then graduated into very dark red, but not especially short. Legs, probably short. The head had the 'cappy' look about rather than the 'napey' look of Common.

Here are my best shots from the 300m range.

After conversations, re-reading etc, I believe this was more likely Arctic than Common.

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