Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Royal Tern (19 June) & Turtle Doves (20 June)

Tuesday 19 June. Just over a year since the Elegant Tern at Church Norton news came through that it had returned to Church Norton. Nice I thought, I'm not working tomorrow I could wander down then. At about 18:40 we learnt that it was in fact a Royal Tern. I was still dithering when JK phoned to say JFC wanted to go immediately. This was the kick up the backside I needed and spurred me into action. Cookie finished my tea while I grabbed my bins and scope. I met JK and JFC at a bus stop in North Lancing at about 19:10 and thanks to very light traffic we were at Church Norton just before 20:00. The bird was on view when we arrived and remained so until we left at just before 21:30. The Royal Tern was in amongst the mainly Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gulls on Tern Island. It gave decent scope views but rarely showed its legs and when it did only from the knees up (this was relevant as it was ringed, below the knee, highly suggestive of it being the ringed bird of the North American race present on the other side of the channel for much of the year). It flew once, although I was slow to get onto it, and a couple of times raised its wings showing the darker shadows on the outer primaries. Also seen while watching the tern were at least 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 10 Little and 3 Common Terns. Otherwise all my attention was solely on the Royal. Nice to see some faces I'd not seen for a while, all of us looking that bit older ...
Royal Tern on Tern Island, quite a brute compared to last year's Elegant
being eyed-up by an incoming Mediterranean Gull
perhaps it always wanted to be a Caspian Tern?
a Black-headed Gull practising a vertical-take-off flight 

Wednesday 20 June. I took Cookie to the Knepp Estate where in a couple of hours I saw 3 Turtle Doves, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, up to 17 Mistle Thrushes, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers and 5 Jays (with 2 more on the drive home). The Cuckoos seen there on earlier visited were either silent or gone.
Fallow Deer on the Knepp Estate
one of 17 Mistle Thrushes seen, many like this one were juveniles. Several singles and groups of 2 or 4 were flying around so there may have been some duplication in my total
Turtle Dove at the Knepp Estate
this one was very vocal
it looked like a lot of effort

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