Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Sandwich Tern.

Sandwich Tern. Phil Slade

The first British record of Sandwich Tern (ST) goes back as far as 1784 at Sandwich in Kent, the bird was then collected by a William Boys, the bird was sometimes then called Boys Tern....Thanks for the photograph PS. 

The ST is an annual visitor to Preesall Sands during its migration journey to West Africa in mainly late July-late August, though earlier and later records can be found. I visited Knott End on 29 July specifically to see if the ST had started to gather yet and was a little surprised to count at least 230 birds there, a lovely sight of a bird which makes an equally lovely sound.

Oakes reported ST's nesting with Common Terns on the Ainsdale/Formby coast in 1910, 1912, and 1916, as I understand it there have been no attempts since. The ST is always the first 'tern' to be seen in the spring, the average date being the last few days in March, though the earliest date was recorded at Heysham on 13 March 1990, this same site also has the claim of a late record, that of a bird seen on 7 November 1991, but another record during the winter months was of an individual seen off Blackpool in December 1994.

I've not made many notes on ringing statistics and recoveries, but a notable recovery is that of a nestling S.s.acuflavidus - which breed along Atlantic and Gulf coasts - ringed in North Carolina, and was found dead in its first winter in southwest England, another also ringed in North Carolina was found in the Netherlands.

It's a sad fact that trapping is carried out - mainly by children - in West Africa, they use dead fish as bait in a noose trap and in the 21st century this so called 'tradition' still remains widespread. In years when the Sardine is abundant the trapping becomes even more prevalent. It is painfully obvious that there is the need for a high profile in the education of the people of parts of the world where this kind of attitude towards wildlife - in this case the ST - which brings them to trap and kill with no justification. Such an education would not only benefit the birds and their populations, but would also benefit the local fisherman as the very birds they are killing are those which are used as markers of fish concentrations in their seas.

And finally....

White-throated Hummingbird. Colin Bushell

A bit of exotica from a previous trip to Regua in Brazil, the bird is an Atlantic Forest endemic....Thanks CB.

And whilst I'm certainly not good on insects, I reckon images like this one from amateur photographers deserve a lot of credit....Thanks GG.

I'm afraid you have to ignore the video above, apparently there was an error whilst downloading it and I've no idea how to get rid of the thing, in any case it doesn't work anyway.....A Birds2blog boob!!


John said...

Hi Pete,
It is a terrible fact that this sort of trapping still goes on and you are right, education is the key!
On a lighter note, I agree with you, any photographer would be as pleased as punch to have taken a photo like the one of the bee!

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for looking in again John and for comments, GG will be pleased....I would be.

I'm keeping a keen eye on 'Hedgeland Tales' too.