Tag Archives: Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern at Swillington

22 Jul

A Caspian Tern was seen at Swillington Ings near Leeds on Tuesday morning [18/7/17] but disappeared fives minutes after being reported. Belatedly reported through nearby Fairburn Ings the previous evening. Back at Swillington Ings on Wednesday morning where this time it lingered all day.

I have already seen three Caspian Tern in Britain, the first at Lound GPs in Nottinghamshire on 3rd July 1998, then a lucky addition to my Yorkshire List after twitching the Kilnsea Rock Thrush and the third again in Yorkshire when one lingered on the river off Faxfleet/Alkborough Flats on 24th July 2016, a county tick for RL. Also seen a few in Spain and Finland. As I don’t habitually year list, the current bird was more a matter of hoping it would come nearer to add to one of my site lists.

20/7/17 Thursday morning brought torrential rain so a rest from birding. However late morning got a call from JH asking if I fancied the tern. Nothing better to do so shortly we were heading along the M62 in rather worrying conditions. Fortunately things improved the further west we got and when we reached the end of Fleet Lane, Oulton, with the help of the SatNav, it was just a fine drizzle. Joined the small group below the private elevated hide expecting to be given some positive news but there was talk of no sign for over 90 minutes, despite reports on the pager much more recent. Scanning further afield noticed a few distant birders ‘walking with a purpose’. Obviously we weren’t in the right place so headed off like a latter day Pied Piper. A good walk reached another lake [would give names but not being local not sure of the correct ones to use]. Still not meeting anyone who had seen the tern we kept towards what we hoped was the east where the tern was last reported to be. Headed across a causeway from where we could see what appeared to be some very distant birders looking at something. By this time I’d lost JH so hoped we’d meet up at the bird. Continued to circumnavigate the lake and after what seemed a very long walk finally caught sight of the tern and not much further a small group watching it. Only grabbed a few shots before setting back in the hope of finding JH.

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Adult Caspian Tern-Swillington Ings.

He’d tried ringing me but either my phone was malfunctioning or the signal was poor. Tried ringing back with no answer then JH called back. Fortunately by continuing straight on he’d located some birder watching the tern but at a greater distant. Was now heading back to the car park. Finished my circumnavigation of the lake and then more by luck than judgement found my way back to the car.

The Caspian Tern wasn’t seen on Friday but may turn up again somewhere soon.

My “tern” to rock it at Spurn.

26 Apr

25/4 Second time in 10 days I get a Mega Alert while at work. Again it’s East Yorkshire and again a county tick but not a lifer. Today it’s a female Rock Thrush found at The Warren, Spurn. {Had seen the last mass twitched bird at Holme, Norfolk.} Further on than last Monday and feeling more positive. The thrush moved north eventually holing up at Sandy Beaches Caravan Park, with instructions to keep out. Not looking good but get a text from Steve Elliot, just after I got in, that it’s now in the field south of Blue Bell car park and looking settled.  On the road with in an hour and there by late afternoon. Bit of a panic trying to see it for the first time but showed on and off the rest of the afternoon, usually on the concrete fence posts on the seaward edge of the field. Never close but slowly getting nearer. However was flushed by walkers on the flood bank and flew to the field further south. Did again work it’s way back north but never got more than half way. Also a few Northern Wheatear and Yellow Wagtails.

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Female Rock Thrush-Kilnsea-my best shot.

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Rock Thrush-Kilnsea-an un-cropped shot.

With a Firecrest reported at Crown & Anchor car park decided to go for a walk with John Brattan. Saw a group of birder appearing to look into bushes opposite Crown & Anchor car park but in fact were watching a Hobby. Oh well, saw plenty locally last year! No sign of anyone in the car park so after a quick look headed slowly back. Stopped to talk with Dave Britton, mainly about last weeks Baikal Teal. John headed for Sammy’s Point and I intended joining him but as I entered Blue Bell car park a hue and cry went up over a Caspian Tern heading north towards us. Mad scramble over the fence then all eyes looking north. “Close in from the sea-watching hut” comes the message over the radio, all straining to pick it up with out blocking the guy [or girl’s] view behind you. Can see a few larger gulls but none turning into a large tern, then the call goes up “close in, straight out”, and there it is, massive red bill and showing the dark under primaries to rule out Royal. Whooh, my Yorkshire bogey-bird finally unblocked. {Dipped one in Derbyshire on 12 May 1993, then had my throttle cable snap on the way home and left with out transport for it to spend the following day at Southfield reservoir.} Watched it until lost to view. No report further up the coast.

Now on a high decided not to go to Sammy’s Point so as not to upset John. Did a brief sea-watch and had a good number of Dunlin and Grey Plover flying north. Hung around for another 40 mins but the Rock Thrush wasn’t getting any closer and the weather was starting to go off. Heavy rain all the way back but wasn’t bothered.

The thrush became more elusive in the rain before flying off to roost at Southfield Farm.

26/4 Rock Thrush still around today, initially in the field south of Blue Bell car park then at Southfield Farm and at Sandy Beaches Caravan Park this evening. Fortunately for John Hirschfield who couldn’t make it on Thursday. Hopefully it’ll rang around for a mass twitch over the weekend. Suspect the Caspian Tern will turn up again somewhere.

27/4 Unfortunately it’s done that annoying trick of disappearing on Friday night. Hopefully it won’t be another 29 years before the next.