Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Terns and more terns

Three of the four Little Egrets, Old Nab, Staithes (Photo JB - thanks)

Missed the Black-necked Grebe at Scaling, I was thinking of going down there that evening as well. Then more dipping as I turned up at Old Nab to find JB there and reporting four Little Egrets in the bay before the tide fell and all the people got on the beach.

The sea had been quiet and despite JB watching since about one little other than the egrets had been seen. However, I was on a mission as I reckoned with a south westerly wind there ought to be a few terns later on. About six or so the terns started coming west, heading, as I believed at that point, for the Tees. The trickle became a steadyish stream and they started coming in closer, this did not make for easy counting as some were further out as well. Totals in the end were 1159 Common Terns and 211 Arctic Terns, when in doubt they were attributed to Common (BirdTrack doesn't have a Commic Tern category so they have to be IDed or they don't exist). This probably results in under recording of Arctic Tern. The biggest problem was that almost 50% of these totals came through in one ten minute period just after 8pm so the figures are best taken as my best estimates.

Also seen 30 Sandwich Tern, 3 Arctic Skua, 2 Common Scoter, 60 Guillemot with plenty of very noisy young, 100 Kittiwake with only 3 juveniles, about 300 Gannet and 6 Manx Shearwater.

When I packed up at about 8:20 I had a bit of a scan around and found that very large numbers of terns were hanging around outside Staithes Harbour and they seemed to be roosting on the sea there. I had expected all my terns to be heading for the Tees so this was a bit of a surprise.

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