Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Terns And Plovers.

Common Tern on Conder Pool.

Common Tern. Geoff Gradwell.

Last Wednesday I saw a Common Tern briefly at Glasson Dock, on Sunday I received a message to tell me two were on Conder Pool, and yesterday I saw them there for myself. Excellent birds to see on the pool, but I recall seeing Common Tern on Conder Pool one day with John Bateman a few years ago when we saw them as a first record for the location.

One of the birds yesterday gave excellent views plunge diving for small fry which it caught one after the other in quick succession. But there was more to these two birds than at first thought. As I observed them I noted some interesting behaviour when one of the birds - sat as it would be on a nest and never moved in the thirty minutes I was there - was approached by the other in what appeared to be a begging gesture with its bill opened.

Common Tern. Geoff Gradwell.

Courtship feeding between Common Terns occurs on the ground when the male will feed the female fish, then give it's own begging-call for the female to return the fish back to it. Fylde birder AC claims to have seen the male feeding the female on the ground yesterday which appears to confirm my suspicions - with doubts considering the date - about these birds.

Thanks to Geoff Gradwall for the excellent images in which the one above with a closer look shows two eggs in the nest at the lower right hand corner of the photograph.

I had little time left for anything too serious on Conder Pool following my interest in the Common Terns but noted a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 6 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, and 2 Little Grebe

Ringed Plover at Cockersands.  

Low Tide Plover Scar. Copy Permitted.
High Tide Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

I arrived at Cockersands to watch the tide coming in and eventually cover the greater part of Plover Scar, but derived great satisfaction in finding the pair of Ringed Plover complete with their family of three chicks, all five of which were engaged in keeping at least one step ahead of the approaching tide with the adult birds ceaselessly calling for the entire 1.5 hours I watched events as they were squeezed into the relatively small area still above water. The adult birds also saw off two other Ringed Plover, 3 Oystercatcher, 3 Dunlin, and a Turnstone to claim the scar all to themselves. 

I reckon these chicks have been out of the nest for two weeks now and need another two more weeks of good fortune to reach fledging before the end of July.

A single Whimbrel was also present on Plover Scar, and elsewhere here I saw
16 Tree Sparrow, 14 Linnet, 7 Greenfinch, a Snipe, and a Whitethroat. 

'Clik the piks'....they're really good!

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