Wednesday, 5 September 2018

American Black Tern - 26 August 2018, Dungeness, Kent

I was only three days in to my family holiday on Scilly (Tuesday 21 Aug) when Stephen Message found a juvenile American Black Tern at Dungeness - not heading home until the Sunday I was surely set to miss yet another ABT in the UK.

As the days passed the tern hung in. Would I: wouldn't I?

Coming off Scilly on the Saturday, we fitted in a quick trip to an old house somewhere in Cornwall, owned by the National Trust. Staying overnight with the hope of visiting another relic the following morning our 'dream' was dashed with naff weather. Leaving Cornwall just before 9am, we set out... When it became apparent that we would get home at 1:30pm, Jenny started having ideas of decorating (wallpapering) Yasmine's bedroom before nightfall. I had other ideas...

Dropping the family off and evening emptying the truck and doing a Tesco shop, I departed home at 3pm in the hope that traffic and RSPB closing times were on my side.

Entering the visitor centre at 3.55pm, I sat down next to a chap scanning birds through a very wet window. It was Stephen Message - the perfect person to refind the bird...

As it was, I picked up the bird flying the other side of the pit - a surprisingly distinctive bird amongst the many Black Terns. Stephen confirmed my ID and the rest, as they say, is history.

And if you follow UK400 listing rules, this was the 550th species in the UK for me (518 BOU, I think!).

American Black Tern in naff viewing conditions, Dungeness, Kent, 26 August 2018

American Black Tern (left) with Black Tern (right) - photo Mike Buckland, Travels with Birds

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