Saturday, 26 May 2012

White Winged Wonders


 



After a week off work and birding the valley everyday in the hope of a good bird to write about had been fruitless so, needless to say arriving at grove at 4.20am I expected much of the same. And so it was, a Turtle Dove purring from within the Paddocks, remaining unseen, the 3 Wigeon still from the Ramp and 4 early morning Hobbies feeding around the Feast hide, a couple of Cetti’s Warblers burst in to song and the first 2 of 5 Marsh Harriers put in an appearance. I made my way to Harrison’s Drove with the Reed and Sedge Warblers making a musical pathway but nothing out of the ordinary while at Harrison’s hide only 2 Little Egrets and a Greenshank were of note. The next pool on held 2 more Greenshank and the last pool at the end of the track was virtually empty, no sign of the 2 Garganey that were there yesterday. Scanning the bushes to the west couldn’t locate a hoped for Shrike and scanning back towards the Ramp, mainly to see if anyone else was coming up the path, I immediately got on a Tern that was not a Common. Quickly getting the scope on it I found I was looking at a White-winged Black Tern. I followed as it crossed by the Ramp and started hunting over the back pool, this is when it took my eyes of to make a few text calls to various people and when looking up again found that there actually 2 adult summer White-winged Black Terns that were feeding quite well but, after about 5-8 minutes they appeared to fly off high east. I carried on my journey along Harrison’s Drove, out on to the road, then back down Middle Drove all the time scanning bushes for Shrikes or, even yesterdays Whinchat. Halfway down the path I looked across towards Marsh hide and got straight back on to the 2 White-winged Black Terns feeding with a few Black-headed Gulls. Quickly moving to the mound at the northern most end of Middle Drove I was soon watching these bobby dazzlers as they fed over the Water Meadows with 17 Black-heads.
White-winged Black Tern

White-winged Black Tern
They disappeared of towards Grove and I let everyone Know they were back, a quick look from Marsh hide added a Wood Sandpiper to the days list. Sue Morton joined me by Marsh hide and we made our way to the Lampen Wall where Steve Ashton had re-located the 2 Terns and here they gave excellent views and gave great photo opportunities. There were about a dozen Common Terns on the lake and the male Bittern could be heard booming behind Marsh hide. During four hours of Tern watching and gas bagging with friends and birders a call went up of a Sandwich Tern just found by Marc Heath, another welcome addition to the list and a much scarcer Valley bird than the White-wingers. In fact this being only my second Sandwich Tern whereas, I’ve seen 5 White-wings in the Valley these two being the 3rd and 4th that I’ve found.
White-winged Black Tern

White-winged Black Tern

Sandwich Tern
After our fill with the Terns Chiddy, Adam and I made our way to the Water Meadows where there were 6 Redshank and a Greenshank and in amongst Ringed Plovers that Chiddy spotted was a smart summer plumaged Temminck’s Stint, there were 10 Ringed Plovers. Back at the Ramp, after hearing, but not seeing, a Curlew there were another 11 Redshank. A very good day with agreat birthday present in the Tern find.
Sandwich Tern

Common Tern

8 comments:

  1. That was a good day for you Martyn, and as you say, a good birthday present. Thanks for the white wing text, a lifer for me and a good couple of hours spent on the Lampern wall in good company. See you next weekend.

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    1. Thanks Steve, see you at the weekend.

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  2. Lovely photos of the 2 beautiful White-winged Black Terns. Great find Martyn.

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    1. Thanks Derek, glad they hung around for you.

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  3. Excellent find Martyn and great photos too

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    1. Cheers Rob, great to see you there.

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  4. Wonderful account Martyn, sounds like an ideal birthday and some absolutely superb photos. Well done on a very good find, sounds like you've had a great spring at Stodmarsh and its very enjoyable to see your photos and read your accounts.

    Joseph

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    1. Thanks Joseph, yes had a few good bits this year long may it continue.

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