12 Dec 2018

Royalty visits the island of the druids.

Earlier this year a long staying American Royal Tern that had been on the Channel Islands shifted temporarily to the south coast. Royal tern is currently split into two subspecies - African and American. The Channel island bird had an American banding association ring on its right leg as did the Pagham bird so the assumption is they're the same bird. I wasn't to bothered as I'd seen) the N Wales bird in 2009 that I refound at Black Rock Sands, Porthmadog.
See crap photo below:

Many of the local N Wales and Cheshire / Wirral birders got to see this bird before it got dark but unfortunately it had gone the next morning only to reappear a few weeks later at Llandudno for a few short hours.

The feeling was at the time that this may have been of the African subspecies as there are subtle differences in structure  and also the bill size  / colouration.

However, the IOC, whose taxonomy the BBRC have adopted, have recommended Royal Tern be split into two species.

Cue wild-spread interest when twitter lit up to say a Royal Tern ringed on the right leg had turned up on Anglesey. Less than an hour from the office! With no time to get there on the day it was found (Monday) a Hilbre team made a tentative plan to travel on the Tuesday picking me up via Mold where my car was going in for a service.

News duly broke early that the bird was still there and the twitch was on. We made the journey in good time to find the bird had temporarily disappeared round a headland. After waiting for awhile  I decided to walk round the headland only to get a phone call about 30 minutes later to say it was back in the bay!

For the next few hours it foraged from bay to bay occasionally settling briefly and providing great views to the assembled throng of appreciative birders.

Photos courtesy of Malc Curtin.

The assumption is of course that this is probably the same bird that was in the Channel Islands as its ringed on the right leg. Apparently there is a paper in the offing that will give pointers to the separation of the two sub species in the field so it could be the previous N Wales bird could eventually be identified as African!

An excellent short twitch and many thanks to the Stig who drove and Mr Stato who's lovely wife provided the nourishment in the for mof home baked muffins and cookies!

No comments :