Friday, 5 September 2008

Sterna hirundo

I dodged heavy showers to do a bit of birding on the way home last night. Cossington Meadows was quiet, with no sign of the Whinchats that have been around, and only relatively few Lapwings, plus two Green Sandpipers.

I stopped for a quick scan on the dam at Cropston Reservoir, too, and as well as a couple of Little Egrets along the shoreline, there was a family of Common Terns hanging around the observation tower. The parents were swooping and diving, and occasionally coming up with fish, which they then fed to two youngsters perched on the rails of the walkway out to the tower. These young terns looked fully as big as their parents, but their plumage lacked the neatness of the older birds, with a gingery barring on their upperparts and ‘dirty’ heads.

I’d guess that they’ll be off on their mammoth migration to the southern oceans any day now, so it was slightly surprising to see the young not doing their own fishing (although both flew strongly at times). But it seems to have been a good year for the local Common Terns – I’ve seen more than usual, I think.

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