Sunday 12 July 2015

Gull-billed Tern

Well that was unexpected! A fairly laid back late afternoon scan for gulls and waders off Passage House took a dramatic twist when I found this Gull-billed Tern at 17:30 roosting on the spit with Black-headed Gulls. Initially I wasn't 100% certain as the bird was asleep and only very briefly lifted its head, but by the time I'd sent a few texts and made some calls it had stood up and showed its short, chunky bill.

The tern subsequently showed very well foraging over the saltmarsh from 18:45, catching a crab before flying down the estuary at 19:10. It was still present at 20:20 although further downriver towards Coombe Cellars. I think most people who were local and wanted to see the bird caught up with it; thanks to Mark Bailey for contacting those whose numbers I don't have.

Somewhat overshadowed but also present off Passage House were 5 Mediterranean Gulls (including 4 juveniles), 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Common Sandpipers, 40+ Curlew and a Whimbrel.

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