Windswept and Whiskered

Sunday evening, and with another trip to Bournemouth planned for tomorrow I did a quick check on Birdguides to see if there were any good birds in the area. A Whiskered Tern at Longham Lakes raised it to the extremely good level. Arriving at Kings Park for half-nine to pick-up the grandson I had a quick check on Birdguides. Yes the Tern was still there so it was get the car sorted and off to Longham. I’m sure many birders take a chance in the permit only car park but I had decided not to and we managed to get a space in the layby at the front of the Bridge House Hotel. After crossing the busy road a short walk along the pavement took us to the footpath to the lake. Setting up on the path around the lake the wind was doing its best to blow over the tripods. I moved along and managed to find a bit of shelter in the lee of a couple of large bushes. I then started to scan the lake. With many hundreds of birds battling the wind to feed I expected a hard task to find the Whiskered Tern. Surprisingly though, amongst the many Swifts and hirundines and quite a few assorted gulls I soon found a single Tern, which happily was the Whiskered. Quite strange that there were no Commons around. I settled down to watch as it patrolled up and down the lake. With just a quick glance it could have been easy to pass it by but the grey uppersides and belly and the tail shape were quite obvious when looked at properly. A few other birders passed by including a gentleman called Brian who many years ago was a Wiltshire birder who had moved down to Poole. Eventually the Tern settled down on what I had found out was its favoured perch, a depth marker that fortuitously was reasonably close to the shore which allowed some reasonable pictures to be obtained. Soon after the others caught up with me and we headed for a nearby bench for a blowy picnic. A precariously positioned umbrella provided a small amount of shelter from the wind as the grandson eat his sandwiches while I split my time between the birds and planes departing the nearby airport.

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