Wednesday, April 23, 2008
An Arctic blast !
If Monday was the day of the Whimbrels - with14 through Broom GP then today it was well and truly the turn of the Arctic Tern.
A rain front was forecast to pass from South Wales to the east across the UK reaching Bedfordshire by 10am, with spring tern passage often producing flocks of birds moving up the Severn Estuary and across inland England in a NE direction it wasn't too difficult to imagine a few Arctic Terns dropping into the various Bedfordshire gravel pits.
The morning at Broom GP was very quiet with two Whimbrel being the only highlights. As i was leaving at around 0830hrs it started raining and by 9am it was bucketing down, this lasted until 12 midday when I returned to Broom GP.
Wow!, I had not imagined the scene that greeted me - the main lake was packed with scores of beautiful (I don't use that word that often to describe birds!) silky Arctic Terns - all elegantly dipping over the water with their incredibly long tail streamers following behind. This was not just a visual feast as many of the birds were calling to each other particularly when they kept rising off the water high in the sky before returning again. In total the flock containing 90 individuals - a mega count for Broom GP's. As the conditions improved a break-away flock of 27 terns slowly circled together until they were high in the sky from where they headed off NE - no doubt being able to see the next body of water able to support their migration.
In the evening only a handful remained together with two summer plumaged Little Gulls.
Today epitomised inland passage birding at its very best - Arctic Terns rock !