Thursday, 13 June 2013

Terning Slowly

After a slow sea-watch on a flat calm sea this morning produced few birds, a single Red-throated Diver and 5 Wigeon south the 'highlights', I headed along the beach to Beacon Point as a few terns had gathered on the falling tide.

A total of 17 Common Terns as well as 5 Sandwich Terns loafed on the rocks occasionally heading off to feed with others dropping on. Amongst them were two 'immature' terns that I (eventually) concluded were Arctic Terns as a result of the short bills and legs, rounded heads and grey primaries.

I'll stop short of trying to attribute an age to them, whilst the first appears to be a classic first-summer, the second seems to show a mix of features (a more adult-like head and reddish-brown legs) and it seems likely that aging immature Arctic Terns is as problematic as in Common Terns in that  birds that look first-summer can often be older and vice versa.

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