Sunday, 26 September 2010

Venus Pool - Black Tern

Déjà vu in reverse? Having spent a couple of hours at VP in the morning and with the recharged birding batteries flagging somewhat, I went and did a bit of shopping!

I popped back at 3.40 precisely and scanning the Trout Pool from the car park, a welcome sight put some life into them batteries!! What appeared to be a Black Tern!! A sprint/yomp to the causeway where a small group of birders (Geoff H, Rob S and Dave W) were watching what they thought might be……. Oh no, here we go again – a Whiskered Tern??!!

It was flying in close on occasions, so I got set up for an identity shoot to try and settle matters there and then. The flight manner and habit was completely different to the Whiskered Tern, this bird was catching the vast majority of insects up in the air, with very few picked up from the water surface. The first few shots revealed a quite dark obvious shoulder patch and the bill appeared to be much too long for Whiskered. The wings were darker too with an obvious dark carpal bar. After a bit of camera screen browsing, everyone was convinced – we had a juvenile Black Tern…..

Problem was, somehow, someone (probably hearing of ‘possible’ news being texted out) had contacted the news services and put ‘Whiskered Tern’ out – we quickly corrected the identity!

A couple more flight shots…..

Image of the day?

The Tern was spending significant time resting on a buoy at the far end of the pool (unlike the Whiskered Tern which flew non stop for 2 hours + in a strong wind). To completely set the record straight, I took a chance on attempting a perched record shot. Some of the fishermen were quite interested in the bird but at least one ‘reckoned’ I had no right to be there! A ‘tense situation’ developed but after a bit of diplomatic discussion, I got access down to the bottom end…..

A bit better than record shots then and clearly a juvenile Black Tern….

Perhaps the shot of the day ‘nearly’ came earlier as the Tern made two aborted attempts to land on the floating ‘buoy’ at the other end of the pool – a sleeping Mute Swan!!! Now that would have been a sight to behold!!

Footnote: after winning the ‘anti me’ around, and chatting to him, it transpired the Tern had been there all of the previous day (and was still there Monday evening). It does pay to scan the Trout Pool, who knows what it might turn up next?