Sunday, 22 May 2011

longipennis Common Tern at Minsmere?

On the 14th May Sean Nixon photographed a very interesting Common Tern on south scrape at Minsmere. This bird has a suit of features that are good for longipennis race, which is an eastern race found from N.E Siberia to N.E China. In this race the underparts are much darker, similar to those found on Arctic Tern, the bill is all dark with no or only a slight redness at the base, and the legs are typically dark.

Longipennis? Common Tern    

The above picture of Sean's shows the dark bill, dark legs and darker underparts. Indeed the dark underparts are reminiscent of those exhibited by Aleutian and White-cheeked Tern and do indeed highlight the cheek area, the flight shot below highlights this feature even more.

Longipennis? Common Tern - Minsmere
The Minsere bird does look good for this race but I do wonder if the underparts are dark enough. Some more photos of this race can be found at the following links




A similar bird was present on and off last year so could this bird be the same individual? A review of the features of this race would be benifical and may shed some more light on to the history of this race in the U.K.

Thank you to Sean for permission to reproduce these photos and well done for being sharp eyed.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Not much about.

A late morning start, and as I was near minsmere I popped in on the off chance the red-rumped swallow was still about. However after scanning the reed bed from island mere for an hour it was evident that the bird was not present. Several swifts were hawkjng and it seems they have come in within the last few days.
Next stop was thorpeness but again this was quite, altough a small passage of hirundines kept my hopes of finding a red rump alive. Scanning the ever moving flock the odd pale rump only brouht house martins.
North warren south marsh also held several hirundines that were feeding low over the water as a rain storm pushed up from the south. Again no red rump was found but did keep me on my toes. I checked the gulls just in case but surprise surprise no Audouins Gull.
Next stop was hazelwood marshes, again birds were thin on the ground but a whimbrel and a egyptian goose were a nice find.
With the wind not swinging until late on in the week i think pickings will be thin on the ground, save a mega or two( well you have to keep positive).
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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Another superb Suffolk bird

Just as I was leaving work for my lunch I got a Bins message stating an adult Audouin's gull was sat on East scrape. Turbo boost engaged and 10 minutes later I was watching this superb bird from north Hide. Congratulations must go to Mr Grant for finding this bird, long predicted as a future addition to the Minsmere list.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A nice patch tick - May 4th

Leaving work I headed to thorpeness ever hopefull the white stork might drift south from minsmere. The skies stayed stork free but a message of a white-tailed eagle heading north over Leiston had me racing to the north end which gives good views towards Sizewell and beyond. I soon picked up a large bird being mobbed with my bins and views through the scope confirmed a patch, suffolk and british tick in the form of a white-tailed eagle, superb!! Strange thing was after watching it drift further north I was walking back across the common when I noted a House Sparrow...a patch tick for this part as they usually only occur around the houses to the south.
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More spoonage

After yesterday evenings skua action and with the weather conditions beong a mirror image I headed to Southwold for another sea watch. Watching from 6:10 - 8:30 I saw a further 6 Poms, 2 bonxies, 30+ fulmars and a close manxie and velvet scoter.
A walk to tinkers afterwards was a bit of a wader fest with 300+ bar wits, 8+ knot, 2 golden plover, dunlin, 4+ spot shank, 1 sanderling and 5+ greenshank.
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