News archive

June 2017

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Elegant Tern at Church Norton

Elegant Tern at Church Norton

It is well known now that an Elegant tern has spent a few weeks on and around 'Tern Island' in Pagham Harbour at Church Norton. The following is a clip taken from the 'Bird Guides website'.

Sometimes choosing a candidate for Bird of the Week is a tricky proposition, but not this time. As spring migration trails off and we enter the doldrums of summer, Andy Johnson's discovery of Britain's first certain Elegant Tern on his Hampshire patch will have caused many an idly surfing birder to sit up straight and pay attention. The bird was initially found in windy conditions loafing with Sandwich Terns on Fishery Creek in Chichester Harbour, off Hayling Island. It didn't stay long, but was seen nearby two days later and then relocated at the RSPB reserve in Pagham Harbour on Saturday 10th, where it remains to date. It is also thought it might be cross breeding with a Sandwich Tern.

Elegant Tern breeds on the Pacific coast of the USA and Mexico, and winters off South America. It is a rare vagrant to the Western Palearctic and this is the first record for Britain, following five Irish records, the last in 2005. Identification is not straightforward, with confusion possible with other terns in the genus Thalasseus, often reported cautiously as 'orange-billed terns'. However, the identification is in no doubt in this case, as the bird bears colour rings showing that it is a known individual 'Bird C' which has been seen regularly and which interbreeds with Sandwich Terns at Banc d'Arguin in Gironde, France. Importantly, its DNA has also been analysed, confirming its identity as Elegant Tern a fact that should make acceptance by both the Rarities Committee and the Records Committee of the British Ornithologists' Union a lot more straightforward.

The image attached is of the Tern taken by Julien Gernigon with a hybrid chick in Banc d'Arguin, Gironde, France, 19 June 2010

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Look at our babes..

Look at our babes..

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