The Elegant Tern, that had frequented Sandy Point on Hayling Island for a couple of days, was reported to have headed east along the coast on Friday evening. Come Saturday morning and the likely stop off points in West Sussex were all under observation from early morning. But not by me, as unfortunately I had prior commitments until early afternoon.
The bird was eventually found by Alan Kitson late morning at Church Norton on the west side of Pagham Harbour. Should I go? I don't like twitches and I don't (usually) go to them. Worse still, if it was in Pagham Harbour it would probably be on Tern Island and that would be at least 250 meters from the nearest observation point. That's "showing well" range if you are into sea watching but us Toggers need closer views.
I checked with my buddy Dave but he didn't want anything to do with it - too many people. I thought about it and in the end I decided to go. It was on my patch and it's a bird I may never get to see again.
I parked up at the Visitor Centre and walked down the west side of the harbour eventually getting to Church Norton at about three o'clock. As expected the twitch was forty plus, the bird was on Tern Island and it was on the ground with the Sandwich Terns keeping its head down in the long grass.
|Tern Island viewed through the 500mm lens - it's somewhere in the grass|
|White ring on the right tarsus and it looks like red on the left tarsus|
|White ring on the right tarsus and green over yellow on the left tarsus|