Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Black Tern

There has been a distinct lack of birds showing over the past week with even the local resident birds keeping a low profile. Reports from sites along the south coast have indicated similar situations. In an effort to liven up the birding and the blogs, we decided to travel down to the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve. Pennington Marsh as it is more commonly known.

When I was last there at the beginning of August to see the Long-billed Dowitcher there were a lot of birds about and recent reports on the Hampshire site had looked good. In particular we hoped to see Black Terns and to get some decent pictures of Curlew Sandpiper and there was always the chance that Dave would get to see the Long-billed Dowitcher that was still being reported occasionally.

When we got there it looked like another bad decision. The lagoons were mostly dry and there were no birds to be seen on them. Even the Coots had disappeared. We sat for a while and watched the seaward side as the tide came in. There were a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover being driven in by the rising tide and a couple of Pied Wagtails feeding off the mud. Interesting but not what we had driven all that way for. At least the Herring Gull that joined us for lunch gave some picture opportunities.

Herring Gull and Friend

Lets Play

Having eaten our lunch we decided to walk along to the jetty. It's a good spot for Turnstones, if you want them, and there are a number of posts sticking out of the water that are used by the Gulls and Terns.

There were a couple of Terns there when we arrived and others flew in as we watched. The problem was that they were mostly juveniles with just a couple of adults in transition between summer and winter plumage. I had not given any thought as to how to identify Juvenile Terns and we had left the Collins back in the car. The Sandwich Terns were easy to identify but the Commons and Blacks were giving us a bit of a problem. Local birdwatchers seemed equally confused. In the end it was a case of photograph everything and try and work it out later.

Two Common Terns and a Sandwich
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern
They look different but it must be two Commons
Common and Juvenile Black Tern

Juvenile Black Tern

Juvenile Black Tern

So, not many birds about but still an interesting day and at least I have learnt something about identifying Juvenile Terns. I will have to start thinking about amending the novice birder description in my introduction.

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