Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some come, some go

There are still some Sandwich Terns, mainly immatures, fishing along the coast. Soon they too will have gone back to their north-east Atlantic breeding grounds. Sandwich Terns gave me an early first-hand lesson on the speed of migration. One September I retrieved two young birds that had been caught in fishing lines. Both had been ringed, as chicks on the nest, in the Farne Islands (north-east England) three months earlier!

But, just as these terns are leaving new ones are arriving to breed from winter quarters off West Africa. Whiskered Terns breed in the marshes of the area and are now returning to their breeding colonies.

Whiskered Terns make floating nests of reeds and other aquatic vegetation

Sandwich Tern (above) just leaving, and Whiskered Tern (below) just arriving

Two Sandwich Terns set off, with the coast of North Africa in the background

The Whiskered Tern photographs are from my archive

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