Friday, 18 August 2017

Arctic Skuas v Sandwich Terns

Lade - 0700hrs - cool and cloudy, w 5 - A brisk wind made for largely passerine free birding on the local patch this morning. However, there was plenty of `big bird` activity with a flock of 30 Common Terns begging to be grilled on south lake, until they suddenly rose skywards like helicopters as a juvenile Peregrine tore in. But the falcon only had eyes for the much slower Curlews that had just left their roost on the Desert, although once again it failed as the `safety in numbers` factor kicked in.
All the usual egrets and herons were around the margins including two Great White Egrets.
  After dropping the car off at the garage in Lydd I walked back to ARC and checked the shingle ridges from Hanson hide where only a few Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Dunlins and Redshanks were present. At least two Garganey were amongst the eclipse ducks and plenty of Sand Martins hawked insects over the lake. Trudging back home across the Desert several Yellow Wagtails and two Wheatears noted.
  This evening we checked out the bay on a rising tide where a flock of 150 fishing Sandwich Terns inevitably attracted the attention of three Arctic Skuas that came in low over the water. The terns were finding fish with every plunge dive, while the skuas were most successful with their surprise attacks, particular on the juvenile birds - at one stage a skua chased a tern along the beach and over the toilet block! As always a highly entertaining spectacle.

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