Posts Tagged ‘Common Tern’

Whisby, Barnack & Yorkshire (1)
A trip to Lincolnshire to see / hear the freshly arrived Nightingales was eagerly awaited and when news of their arrival was confirmed a trip was planned. Meeting at 6am in Newhey with a dodgy weather forecast was not for the faint of heart, but I never really believe forecasts. Off we went with Bob K at the wheel, who soon had us at Whisby NR by 7-40am. Next to nobody there at that time so, with any luck we should be lucky. We reached the location and were all quite staggered by the Nightingales song but better still you could watch them in the dense, dark bushes (Just my excuse for not getting any good pictures really) Nightingales are a very evocative species to be near at this time of year, but we had to give the birds some room etc. We all headed off for a grand tour of the nature reserve amid the cacophony of Black Headed Gulls. Plenty of Willow Warblers, Chiff-chaff, Blackcap all singing, what a joy they are to listen to. We have only really called into Whisby before but I feel sure we will be back again.
A bit of a change was our next port of call, a place called Barnack in Cambridgeshire to see the Pasque flowers. Upon arrival Chris B shot off in pursuit of this rather beautiful flower, his face was a picture of delight having found lots of them! We all took lots of pictures and managed to leave before hordes of people arrived. After a call at a small reserve near Wittering, a check of rare bird news revealed a Red Rumped Swallow at Fairburn Ings NR near Castleford, Yorkshire. As one of the boys needed this species for a “lifer”, we headed off up the A1.
The weather was a little worse upon arrival at Fairburn, but that would keep the swallow in the area we all thought. As we hurried down the path a few birders were looking skywards, quickly telling that the bird was still present. Fairly good views were had of the bird that was in the company of House Martins. An adult Little Gull also performed really well in Village Bay, but not close enough for any pictures. We met Darren from Leeds who told us about a Spoonbill, booming Bittern on the Coal Tip walk. We had to give it a go didn’t we, Bob K by this stage was feeling the effects of a sore ankle and stayed near the visitor centre, wise move Bob. A long uphill slog passing 3 reed fringed ponds revealed the booming Bittern and a “squealing” Water Rail. After searching through lots of Little Egret, Grey Heron and Cormorant nesting areas we had to leave not having found the hoped for Spoonbill, very nice walk though.
Final call was at St Aiden’s / Swillington RSPB for the breeding plumaged Black Necked Grebe`s. We entered the reserve via Station Road, Methley, crossed over the railway and the river and walked along the causeway that cuts across the reserve (ta for the information Darren) The grebe`s were soon located and they performed really well. A pair of Common Tern also seemed newly arrived. This area has changed since we used to birdwatch the area many years ago, for the better this time. We soon reached home having all enjoyed a really good day out. Thanks for driving Bob.
Dave O.


Myself and the two Steve`s decided on visiting a couple of new places of birding interest last Sunday. These sites often get mentioned on RBA, but, we have never visited them, they are Carr Lane Pools in Hale and Pickering`s Pasture in Hale Bank, near Widnes.  The weather all day was showery with sunny periods and as we got to Carr Lane Pools a weather front passed through and we had to head back to my car for shelter. A Peregrine put most of the birds up and as they settled a Wood Sandpiper was found by Steve K, along with a few Yellow Wagtails and some Black Tailed Godwits. Well worth a visit!  At Pickerings Pasture, it at first looked like a dog walking area, but as we did the tour a good birding spot right on the River Mersey was revealed, some woods, a small pool and the tidal flats were decent birding area`s. My search for the elusive Treecreeper carried on in the woods, but again, no joy for this hard species to catch up with this year!!  At Frodsham we did the full trip around, testing my car`s suspension and after Steve B had taken on a small gardening job, which he did admirably with the help of a lady photographer, we birded the area and a Marsh Harrier was seen hunting. The lack of waders was apparent, but the tide was all wrong to be honest. We visited Leasowe and New Brighton, the wind was quite strong and the tide was coming in, but still to far out to wait for any seabirds. Another search for Treecreepers at Risley Moss was made but, they do not feed the birds in summer so the Woodland hide was almost deserted. A Hobby hunting from the Tower hide was great to watch, but not much else. Pennington Flash was good, apart from the shower / cloudburst that hit us after leaving the car. We managed 2 Kingfishers, 5 Common Terns,Green Sandpiper and a Garganey in eclipse moult, with lots of other species to watch and enjoy. Our last port of call was Astley Moss (for the third time this year) to search for, you guessed it Treecreeper! People say,” third time lucky”, but not for me, it`s a nice walk anyway! We reached home by 5-15pm and all enjoyed the day.

A family holiday spent at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, Monastir, Tunisia. It was our fifth visit to the area so I already knew where to go birding. Managed to do some birding every day, but mainly in the morning, usually around 6-15am as it became very warm around 9-30am. The area around this hotel is dominated by very large salt lagoons and lots of breeding birds, including Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little, Common and Gull billed Tern’s and good numbers of Collared Pratincole. Waders in the shape of Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. Lots of Greater Flamingo directly behind the Monastir Airport, along with Spoonbill and Stone Curlew in small numbers. At the local dump near Sahline, up to 180 White Storks were present but the spectacle of uncountable numbers of Yellow legged Gull will stay with me for a long while! In the hotel area’s Hoopoe, Serin, Crested Lark, Bee-Eater, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow were seen in varying numbers. Around the salt lagoons various bushes and mixed habitat held up to 8 Great Grey Shrikes of the algeriencis form that allow close attention to photograph! Also in those area’ s are small numbers of Zitting Cisticola(Fan Tailed Warbler), Greenfinch, Linnet, Short Toed Lark and the abundant Rock/ Feral Dove. Smaller numbers of Collared, Laughing and Turtle Doves also.Large flocks of Spotless Starling are great to watch as they dig for food on the ground and squabble just like “our” one’s. There are lots of Swift and with a bit of luck a few Pallid Swift can be found as they chase their prey close to the ground. Small numbers of House and Sand Martins were seen, but not many Barn Swallow’s (think there is a sad decline this year in their numbers) On the journey from Enfidha Airport to our hotel a single Carrion Crow was seen flying around a small village, a bit unusual that? A single Barbary Partridge was seen one early morning in the scrub around the salt lagoons and in the evening a single Hobby was out hunting and then a flock of 5 Shelduck flew past. A few Kestrel’s and Sparrowhawk’s were seen again in small numbers. Our our return home and near the airport at Enfidha a Booted Eagle was seen hunting and great end to a very localised birding / family holiday.

A 6am start with myself driving and Steve & Chris Brown on the trip. A nice morning and our first call at Holyhead Harbour to see the Black Guillemots. The birds where soon located and a few pictures were taken. We used to have to go to Fedyr Fawr to see these stunning summer plummaged birds,but, now its much easier to catch up with them. It was a strong off shore wind that greeted us at South Stack RSPB reserve. Plenty of Manx Shearwaters were heading to the north and up to 5 Puffins were seen alongside lots of Guillemots & Razorbills. Large gulls patrolled the cliffs in case any food was availiable from the breeding areas. At our much awaited destination of Cemlyn Bay, the sun shone and 20 degrees of heat but, alas, the wind was that strong that any pictures could not be taken as it took you all your time to keep your telescopes or bins still! Sandwich, Arctic and Common Terns were seen and a single Roseate Tern and the most splendid Meditereanean Gull in breeding plummage also. A walk along the adjoining headland was very nice but, mainly birdless. At Frodsham a Red necked Grebe and Lesser Scaup had been present for a few days so, we headed over there. A few comments about how well watched the place used to be and the variety of birds that used to be found followed and as we arrived a few birders were present and information was exchanged on the whereabouts of our two “target” species. The Lesser Scaup was with some Tufted Ducks on number 6 tank and looked too be starting to moult. The Red necked Grebe was on the Weaver Bend and required climbing over barbded wire, metre high grass and various obstacles that were on the footpath to the river! It was well worth the effort as the bird showed well if a little distant for close camera work. An Avocet was seen, bringing back some memories of myself and Steve B seeing our first in the north west in almost the same place many years ago. We met a twitching friend of mine and he told me about seeing the Short Toed Eagle, thanks for that Simon! Next stop, much nearer to home, Rindle Road and Astley Moss for the hard to locate Treecreeper. This species is prooving hard for me to see this year, is it declining? No joy on that species again, but a tip of from another birding friend had us in the deep grass again and succesfully finding a Yellow Wagtail in a field full of Llamas, it was a bit odd true but, again worth the walk. Time for home, back at 6pm and we all got at least 9 year ticks.

Dave O.

Well two weeks ago we had planned our annual trip to Anglesey, but, a certain Pacific Swift diverted us from going, so this Saturday the three elders of our group made the trip with Bob K driving. An early start was needed as a few stops had been planned so we left Rochdale at 6am. First stop was Holyhead harbour and as we got there the sun was trying to break out from behind the clouds. A Black Guillemot rather gave itself up to us at the side of a fishing boat and lots of pics were taken. A few other “tysties” were seen in the harbour and seen at nearly all other locations we visited during the day,they must be doing really well on Anglesey. Sandwich Tern


Choughs, South Stack, Holyhead. 29th June 2013

Black Guillemot, Holyhead Harbour. 29th June 2013

Black Guillemot, Holyhead Harbour. 29th June 2013

Roseate Tern

Roseate Tern, Cemlyn Lagoon, Anglesey. 29th June 2013

South Stack next and a great joy to visit with the masses of seabirds perched facing the massive stacks. Lots of gulls, Guillemots, Razorbills, a few Puffins and passing on the sea quite a number of Manx Shearwater and an occasional Gannet. The ferries coming and going also give me and Steve B a gentle reminder about work! The small group of Chough also entertained us with their calls and sheer pleasure that they seem to get from flying around, their larger cousins the Ravens were also on patrol looking for anything to eat. There has been a lack of butterfly`s this year and next to none were seen in the day. The drive to Cemlyn Bay is always filled with anticipation and hoping that the tern colony is doing well and not like a few year’s ago when the lot were wiped out with predators. We came in from the east end and lots of terns were seen flying into the lagoon’s. Lots of Sandwich Tern’s a few Arctic Tern’s and Common Tern’s made up the breeding species.Black headed Gull, Oystercatcher were also breeding there. After taking a few pictures we noticed a Roseate Tern sat on the bricks on the edge of the colony, nice bird to see as they used to breed here. Around about this time a large female Peregrine “buzzed” the colony with everything that could fly taking to the air, quite a spectacle! It back tracked and swooped onto what we think was an Oystercatcher chick, carrying off the chick to become Peregrine chick food! A Common Rosefinch had been seen near to Point Lynas, were it had been singing almost all the time but only giving brief views. After a bit of a route march over gates, overgrown field’s etc, we reached the area. The bird could be heard, even though none of us were fitted with our hearing devices, that’s how audible it was. A small group headed nearer the bird and it gave a small perch up then flew down the valley. We all followed and apart from another flypast that was all we had on the bird. Hardly stunning and true to form. Another Roseate Tern had been showing on the River Clwyd just south of Rhyl, so as we were going that way to look at the Little Tern colony at Gronant, so we called in. As we arrived about 4 cars were there and birders, after we had parked they had all gone, the reason being so had the tern! We had a look anyway, lots of Sandwich Terns and about 6 summer plumaged Black tailed Godwit’s, what stunners! Time for Gronant and Presthaven Sands, the walk as always was only brightened up by a single Stonechat, but as we got onto the beach, at least a 100 Little Tern’s could be seen. Some on the sea fishing, others sat on nests or on the beach, quite a sight. The area is really well protected by fencing and a patrolling warden is in attendance, so the birds should produce lots of chicks. We believe it too be the only Little Tern colony on mainland Wales. Time for home now and a good day out, we all managed about 6 new birds for our year lists. Think its now time for the summer break. Oh no there’s a Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands!

Dave O.

Not quite the words from the famous song, but it was that time of year again to undergo our, “nearly a day trip” to Norfolk. Only three brave souls aboard this year with Steve K driving, Chris B and myself leaving Newhey at 11-30pm. We reached our first stop, Dersingham Bog, near Sandringham around 3am with a full moon and a cloudless sky, the signs were good. We saw a Nightjar sat in the road either feeding or eating grit? and we were off to a good start. As we descended into the bog distant “churring” was heard and a Grasshopper Warbler was just warming up. A few Woodcocks were heard/seen and what sounded like deer gave the place a bit of an eerie feel to it! As we left another two Nightjars were seen in the road and as the first vestiges of light came through no sign of the Golden Pheasants on the triangle. Next stop Foulden Common, a place I saw/ heard my very first Nightingale about 25 years ago, but alas no birds were heard in our search. A nice Barn Owl was perched up for us though. At Weeting Heath a blanket of low lying mist hampered our search for Stone Curlew, Chris found a Spotted Flycatcher and then the bird we had come to see as a Stone Curlew walked out of the mist. Now onto everyone’s favorite reserve, RSPB Lakenheath Fen. It seems like a long time ago that this place was owned by Bryant & May for growing the tree’s that would be turned into matchsticks and that Golden Oriole’s were fairly easy to see. Now it has been transformed into a really cracking reserve with practically any type of marsh bird being seen. We arrived at 5-30am and already the car park held 10 cars on it. We trudged our way along the riverbank and soon heard the “dawn chorus” in full swing with Cetti’s Warbler to the fore. We reached the far end of the reserve and watched a couple of Marsh Harriers, then the news of the Red Footed Falcon male being perched up about 250 yards away, so, off we went. A pair of Mute Swan’s and 5 cygnets barred our way, but a patient walk around them did the trick! The Red Footed Falcon was indeed perched up and was admired for 15 minutes, a new bird for one of our number. We walked back along the river and watched a Common Crane gracefully feeding on the Norfolk side of the river. We agreed to have another look at the falcon, just as a Golden Oriole began to sing its very distinctive song. Two Hobbies were found sat in the same area as the falcon and a few long flights by the local Bittern’s were also enjoyed. A small group of birders were looking into the reed’s and told us that a Savi’s Warbler was singing. It sung some more then showed itself to the small gathering. What a cracking marsh bird and in the company of a sat out “reeling”, Grasshopper Warbler, nice to be able to compare the respective songs. This was another new bird for one of our team. A call in at Barnham Common for possible Woodlark had, nothing more than the following butterflies:-Small Copper, Small Heath, Green Veined White, Brimstone (pair). Time to head for the coast, reaching the “Iron Road” at Salthouse were we saw:-Egyptian Goose, Common & Sandwich Terns and a dodgy looking Ruddy Shelduck. Onto the east bank at Cley were a Wood Sandpiper showed very nicely and a couple of Bearded Tits were “pinging” and flying around. At Titchwell we saw a Red Crested Pochard and a Temminck’s Stint, fairly close to the new hide. Grey Plover, Little Tern and a few more waders were seen in very pleasant conditions. We had to leave Norfolk now as time was pressing as a call at Whisby Nature Reserve was planned to catch up with the Nightingale that could not be found in Norfolk. We reached Whisby at 7pm and walked straight into a singing Nightingale, that gave us a good rendition before heading deeper into cover. The last bird on this trip anf a fitting end to a really memorable trip.We reached Newhey at 9-30pm having seen a total of 107 species and each of us having had around 20 new species for our year lists.


Dave O.

Our annual trip to the “sunny” isle will be remembered by those in attendance, not for a bird, but the site of a beautifully marked Adder not 4 feet from us as we watched the seabird colony at South Stack, Holyhead. It was on view for about 2 minutes and for the lads who remembered the Korean war it was the first time any of us had ever seen this species! After adding Puffin, Rock Pipit, Chough and distant Manx Shearwater`s we had a walk around and watched lots of Silver Studded Blue Butterflies, again a new species for most of us. A trip into Holyhead harbour revealed a couple of Black Guillemot`s. Now my favourite part of the trip Cemlyn Bay for a look at the tern colony that has been there ever since adam was a lad. Lots of Sandwich, Common and a few Arctic Terns are in the colony. They are all enjoying a good breeding year with 500 chicks having hatched already. A Roseate Tern had been seen for the last couple of days and it was eventually picked out in amongst the masses and showed really well,what a cracker! We called in at Llanfairfechan on the way home not really expecting to see any Common Scoter but a small flock of about 80 birds lingered not far from the wind farm turbines, these monstrosities are not nice but they are good for picking birds out and for giving directions onto birds though! Memorable day.

Its our most looked forward to trip of the year, our annual trip to Norfolk. The trip itself was spoilt a bit by the strong winds that were blowing, and not all coming from me!(Ozzy!) We began at Salthouse Heath were a couple of Nightjars were heard and then seen, but the first of many disapointments was in the shape of no Nightingales not being heard on the heath at all (this was the first time ever that we have failed to hear them here). At Salthouse we picked up Egyptian Goose then the bit I really like the East Bank at Cley a couple of Bearded Tits, Spoonbill, Sandwich, Common and Little Terns were seen. The Glaven valley had a cracking Barn Owl. A trip to the Monty`s place was a wash out, we also didn’t connect with the Quails at Choosely Barns also. Hoping for better things at Titchwell we had really close veiws of a Bittern that kept flying over the footpath and giving us all prolonged sightings. Time to head for the Brecks and one of the best reserve`s in Norfolk, Lakenheath or Hockwold Washes? No sign of the Golden Oriole`s, missed the Cranes by seconds but a couple of Hobbies and lots of Marsh Harriers kept us entertained, we had not seen Turtle Dove anywhere and didn’t manage to see them here, also even with a good tip off from a reliable friend. Our last port of call was to see the Stone Curlew at a secret location (so we didn’t have to spend any of our precious money – Tight Northerners and that) we were successful, but didn’t connect with any Wood Larks. One highspot on the way home was of a Red Kite, in the Yorkshire area. A long day, but not one of our better trips! Ozzy managed to 93 species, which included 12 year ticks, that puts him on 173 species for 2011.