Wednesday, 13 May 2015

and then the big one - Boom! ROSEATE TERN at Amwell

At around 1630 hours yesterday afternoon, Ade Hall came across a very pale, long-winged, long-tailed tern sat on the mud in front of the Watchpoint at Great Hardmead Lake, Amwell. Never having seen ROSEATE TERN before, he was uncertain of the id and beckoned over another Amwell patchworker Jay Ward to confirm. Fortunately, the tern lingered with the local Common Terns, despite being aggressively postured upon on occasions, Jason eventually pitching up an hour later. Incredibly, Ade had discovered the first-ever viewable ROSEATE TERN for the county - seemingly an adult ringed previously on Northumberland's premier breeding site for the species at Coquet Island. Jay immediately alerted other locals but with Barry Reed dropping his daughter off in Bristol, it took a little longer than usual for the news to reach further afield. Mike Ilett soon intercepted the news (Bill Last had arrived on site and confirmed the bird's continued presence) and made sure that those outside of the 'Amwell Loop' got to hear and at 1830 hours, news went 'national'.

Although a Roseate Tern had been claimed at Wilstone Reservoir (Tring) way, way back on 18th May 1968, there had never been a subsequent sighting, the species remaining incredibly rare in the county, considering the regularity of sightings in London and Berkshire. As a result, this was a very 'big bird' locally and with the evening wearing on, no time was to be wasted in getting there. As luck had it, the bird actually remained until dusk (9.15pm), even allowing Barry Reed time to whizz back down the M4, M25 & A10 to see it!! In all, just under 60 observers connected, including the vast majority of keen Hertfordshire birders.

It spent most of the evening pitched up on the mud, occasionally taking flight following an altercation with one of the many paired-up Common Tern couples. The views were excellent, the bird favouriting an area just 100 yards away from the Watchpoint. A sensational find by Ade Hall....

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