Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Something Will Tern Up!

After 'doing' moth id's for more time than is healthy last night I was about to head for the land of nod when the big red phone on the desk rang. A little like the one in the commissioner's office in Gotham City a call at this time of night always means something's up.
Sure enough one of the team with a courtesy call, someone had just put in a report of a Bridled Tern at East Chevington.
The ususal process of requesting more details and any images etc had been actioned so any news that night was to be unconfirmed and to be honest after contacting one of the East Chevington regulars to do a morning recce, I slept soundly and fully expected it to morph into something else, a 1st-summer Arctic Tern or at best maybe a White-winged Black Tern.
Perhaps I should have expected the unexpected this morning when the phone rang again with news that resulted in a gobful of Weetabix liberally spluttered across the kitchen. Three images had been received at Birdguides and yesterday's '1st-summer Arctic Tern' was as had been reported a nailed on and exquisite Bridled Tern.
Almost 18 years since the last one, a single day tripper to Coquet Island on 14th August 1992 for a few long in the tooth locals Bridled Tern is the blocker on their county list. Despite a further unconfirmed report today, originating from a chance conversation on a boat to the Farnes, of a bird fitting the description of Bridled Tern 'on a sandbar in Budle Bay' no further news.
On a personal note, I told the kids it was a needle in a haystack job but they insisted on playing their part in trying to relocate the Tern this afternoon. So after calculating the likely trajectory of any terns moving from Coquet to East Chev we placed ourselves at the likely spot and carried out an intense search, covering all possible flight lines (including below our knees in my daughter's case!).

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