Saturday, 11 September 2010

Juvenile Black tern off Carrick beach

For the next week I shall be based up in Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland, staying in the lovely villiage called Kirkcudbright, doing some birding and a bit of sight-seeing. To start the trip off, on our journey up north along the A75, a raptor flew across the front of the car. Hmmmm... what was that? I saw it again briefly and it soon became clear that it was a Hobby after the numerous Swallows, that were buzzing around in the nearby fields - a great start!

Today was an even better day with a trip out to our local beach at Carrick, near Gatehouse-of-fleet, where we were in for quite a surprise. We came across a recently built veiwpoint over looking several bays; a flock of Common scoter far out was nice with 3 Great-Crested Grebes mixed in with them, but then I spotted a bird of unknown identity about half a mile out towards an island. It was perched on a log bobbing about in the waves and I had know idea what it was?! The sight of seeing a bird, on a log, in the middle of the sea?? I was thinking rarity at the time, but after 5 mintues of looking intently at the bird, it soon clicked that it was a tern species. Common, Arctic, Little and Sandwich tern could all be ruled out immediately, but I was not expecting what was to unfold next.

The bird flapped it's wings and didn't fly off. Oh shit! The wings were black! Running down from the viewpoint and nearly falling flat on my arse, I reached the beach and quickly relocated the bird again, sat on the log and it was clearly a tern, it then took flight and the alarm bells started ringing as what I was actually watching was a Juvenile Black tern! It then flew around for a while and then dissapeared round the next bay. In hot pursuit running across the car-park and staright through a herd of cows, the bird was feeding in the next bay on arrival. Good scope views were had quite close in but there wasn't enough time for any pictures unfortunately!

The Black tern was a Juvenile with a black cap, small black bill, brown saddle on it's back, sooty black wings and a grey tail. The flight was very characteristic almost with no effort at all, very bouncy and quick wingbeats.

As if the bird had come in on the tide, it soon went out on the tide and began to head out further out to sea, out beyond an island and dissapeared over the horizon. Luckily Mr bridge senior obtained views of the bird and the identity was nailed! A Juvenile Black tern and a nice 239th species on my yearlist! Great stuff! A Hooded crow then flew over making it a rather successfull day!

Check back in the next few days for another update..

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