Sunday, 9 September 2018

Winning Roseates

South Gare was heaving with birds and besides our friend the Pomarine Skua, there were lots of terns, waders and gulls to look through. A gang of Linnets and a single Whitethroat in a small bush were the only small birds of note.

We had a look through the terns on the rocky breakwater and picked out three adult and three scaly juvenile Roseate Terns- a real treat! The adults were still remarkably pink on the breast and with wholly black beaks, although one was developing a deep red base. They had mostly lost their long tail streamers. The compact, scaly young were very distinctive and spent most of the time harassing the nearby adults, which were presumably their parents. As the tide covered the rocks, the terns moved on to the beach and some of the Roseates gave great views, despite the onset of the rain. These are really gorgeous birds and I am pleased to hear they continue to increase at their only English breeding colony, Coquet Island in Northumberland. As autumn approaches, they will head off down to West Africa for the winter.

How many species can you see in this photo? Should be four...

Roseate Terns with Common Terns on the South Gare breakwater.

 Adult Roseate. Note how pale it is compared to the nearby Common Tern.

 Adult and juvenile.

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