BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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ISLAND MERE LEIGHTON MOSS RSPB. PETE WOODRUFF.

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Arctic Tern.

The Arctic Tern moves on a global scale, breeding in the northern hemisphere and migrating south to the Antarctic, making the most extensive and remarkable migratory journeys of any other bird, literally crossing the world in travelling between the polar regions, the consequence of which this small bird experiences more daylight than any other living organism on the planet.

The distribution of the Arctic Tern is such that neither ring-recoveries nor observations will ever reveal the full extent of this birds movements in which there are major gaps in understanding them. It's breeding grounds are sparsely populated in the high Arctic, wintering grounds are largely uninhabited, and much of its movements occur in small groups at high altitude across open oceans. In the north they breed at a higher latitude than any other tern species, whilst populations breeding in Britain are at the southern edge of their breeding range where strongholds are in Orkney and Shetland, with a small number breeding in northern  England and on Anglesey.

Heading south to the Antarctic Seas in the non-breeding season involves a return journey for a far north breeder of a truly staggering 20,000 km at least.

I'm grateful to Chris Batty for sending me the header image of the juvenile Arctic Tern he found on the beach at Knott End on 3 August, prompting me to write up these few brief notes on this incredible species, to the photograph of which he added the following comment....'when I see juvenile Arctic Terns here they are never accompanied by their parents, what a world they explore alone!'....What a world indeed Chris, and puts a whole new meaning to your photograph of this young Arctic Tern at Knott End in Lancashire.

The Conder Pool Common Terns.


Common Tern adult/two juvenile. Conder Pool 12 July. Pete Woodruff.

I was more than a little pleased to see the report of two adult and two juvenile Common Terns on the Lune Estuary a Glasson Dock on Wednesday 3 August, giving credence to my suggestion that the adult I saw carrying a fish in its bill on the Lune at Glasson on Friday 29 July, was doing so as food for a young bird, being an indication they hadn't dispersed far from their natal site despite my not having seen a juvenile Common Tern since 12 July on Conder Pool. The last reported sighting was of 2 adult and 2 juvenile on Conder Pool 17 July, making it seventeen days they were off the scene.

I'd sooner be birding!....But its becoming increasingly hard to know when I will do again.

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