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A Tern for the Better

When news broke of a Gull-billed Tern not so far away from home it was tempting to go to see it. But, with the bird being pretty mobile and not yet pinned down, not to mention an ice cold bottle of Prosecco waiting for me in the fridge, I decided that I would wait and see if the bird was seen the next day, indicating that it was a bit more settled. On top of that I’d already seen at least 4 Gull-billed Terns in the UK including 2 in the NW so not a lifer either.

Up early the next day the news was good and prompt, the bird was still in the same location as yesterday and my trip was on! I set off and the 37 miles or so to my destination of Dee Sailing Club, Thurstaston on The Wirral went like a breeze. The traffic was light and I was soon pulling up with loads of parking available. Coming from so close I had beaten any of the crowds that may arrive later. Walking up to the assembled throng of birders, many of whom I knew as friends and Focalpoint customers, I was told that the bird was showing. Soon I was watching the adult Gull-billed Tern sat on the mud offshore, albeit a fair way off! Later the bird did a couple of close fly-bys showing extremely well. I even saw it open its beak and regurgitate undigested food items, almost certainly insect carapaces as its feeding method suggested that it was picking insects up off the surface of the water in the gulleys offshore. The only digiscoped shots I managed however were at a great distance with it standing on the mud, ah well record shots are better than nothing!

As the tide rapidly rose, and knowing that that was when the bird moved off yesterday I took my leave and wishing everyone farewell I headed home, a great yeartick under my belt and my 5th (at least) Gull-billed Tern seen in the UK.

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