Monday, 12 September 2011

Arctic Tern at Dungeness

Back to the fishing boats at Dungeness on Sunday morning for a 2 hour sea watch. My birdwatching was dominated by Swallows accompanied by House Martins and Sand Martins bravely heading off the point and over a choppy channel sea to France, on then onwards to Africa. Passing low over the water in waves, I estimated 40 birds a minute were passing in front of me, inshore. Also travelling south was this Arctic Tern.

Now Arctic Terns are not such a common site for in Kent as their ousin the Common Tern, and this one is an adult bird moulting from its summer plumage to a winter plumage. It has a white an interesting white cheek effect, created by black fringing on the cheek feathers meeting the grey feathering of the underpart plumage. Its loosing its black cap, but still has a blood red beak to sport. The overall effect is distinctive, if a bit scruffy.

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