On Wednesday 24th July at 20-30hrs, news came out of a CASPIAN TERN in Cheshire. A quick check of the map revealed it was only about 30 mins away. I stood and thought. I do have a fondness for terns but I worked out it would be after 21-00hrs and the light would be fading. Its not often I freeze but I did and sorted of regretted it. It was 2006 when I saw my last CASPIAN TERN and they are magnificent birds. I planned to get up early in the morning before work.
The plan worked. I was out the house by 04-30hrs with the knowledge that the CASPIAN TERN was present until 21-40hrs at least. I arrived at Acre Nook at 05-10hrs, only to find loads of cars already on site. I spoke to the first birder who told me there was no sign. I immediately headed back down the M6 to see if it was at Westport. Not this time though! And there was no further sign all day. I did kick myself.
So it was a bit of a surprise to read a text on Thursday evening saying the CASPIAN TERN had returned again to Acre Nook. This time it was 19-55hrs, and luckily, GAS was already at my house. We rang CJW and off we sped. Having been there already once that day, it was easy enough to find the site again. We arrived at 20-30hrs and we soon watching the Caspian Tern standing around on the mud among the other gulls. It was a very pleasant twitch with oodles of Curlew coming into roost. We headed for home at about 21-15hrs.
Mobile phone photo's again
On Friday 26th, I finished work for two weeks holiday and left work slightly early. As I was driving home, I had a phone call (at 13:43hrs) from a excellent source informing me that news had just come through about a CASPIAN TERN at Rudyard. Mass panic ensued as I was heading in the wrong direction, but I was at the right end of the city. A quick check of Birdguides revealed the time as late morning when it was present. Then Birdnet posted a time of 11-05hrs. That felt like hours ago and I knew there would be no chance of it still being around. I hurtled up to Rudyard and headed straight for the North End. I knew it would be alright to drive up the track to get nearer to the mud. I drove up and found no birders present at all. I pulled in the first layby and scanned the mud. I passed over only a few birds before my eyes came upon a monster tern with a huge red beak. "****!" I said. It was still present (14-20hrs). I quickly rang Dag at Birdnet and then attempted to get some photo's in case it flew off. Due to my impending vacation, I was armed with just a pair of bins and my phone only. I started snapping away and took about ten photo's. I glanced at one of the photo's to see if it was alright but I couldn't see the tern on it. I looked up and the tern was gone. I panicked and started scanning. It was nowhere to be seen. My worse nightmare. No pics. No bird. Birders on their way. Then a Heron flew in a flushed the gulls, and at the back of the flock was the Caspian Tern.
I took a few more pictures and glanced behind and saw two birders with bins. I smiled, said hello and they carried on walkng. I shouted them and asked if they'd seen the tern. They knew nothing about it, but I then recognised them from Acre Nook the night before. At least two other birders had seen it now. I'd also managed to get hold of Steve Seal and he was on his way armed with his camera.
My record shot taken thru my bins with my mobile.
and Steve Seal's shot with his slightly better photographic equipment.