Sunday, 30 May 2010

Roseate & Arctic Terns....

White-tailed Plover. Chris Batty.

....but first I'm grateful to Chris Batty for sending me this image of the recent White-tailed Plover at Seaforth in Liverpool. I highlighted some facts about this bird in a post on Thursday 27 May 'The Works' which breeds mainly in the desert regions of Soviet central Asia and Kazakhstan as well as in Iraq, and winters in the Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, and northern India.

Roseate Tern. Chris Batty.

The Roseate Tern is a scarce passage migrant mostly from Ireland and came very close to extinction in Britain and Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century before numbers began to build up, but the species began to decline once again to around 2,400 pairs in 1960-70 and more seriously so by 1988 when their number fell to c.500. Today - as in the past - the vast majority nest on the east coast of Ireland, some colonies in Anglesey supported about 250 pairs until late in the 1960's but by the 90's had dwindle to single figures, and in Cumbria just one or two pairs hung on until the end of the 60's. Over the past 50 years the virtual extinction of the Roseate Tern in the eastern Irish Sea has been reflected in the changing pattern of occurrences in Lancashire.

One well known ornithologist claims there has never been any evidence of breeding in Lancashire and birders are lucky to find one on passage these days although I'm aware of odd ones seen including records from coastal sites like Knott End, past records have included a bird seen at Leighton Moss on 2 June 1974, and an interesting one on the River Lune at Arkholme on 21 May 1978. 

Arctic Tern. Chris Batty.

Much to be said - perhaps another time - about this incredible bird the Arctic Tern which migrates in excess of 20,000 miles and experiences more daylight than any other living thing on this planet. This photograph was taken at Cockersands recently where I found one myself off Plover Scar on Tuesday 15 May.

Many thanks for these three images Chris they are much appreciated.  

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