…and we have lift off!

Good news – the Little Tern colony in Langstone Harbour has been successful this year, with many fledglings about. The first chick was seen flying on Friday and we saw more on the wing this week, as well as others that look ready to go. What makes this news even better is that these are the first Little Tern chicks to fledge since 2011 in Langstone Harbour and in that year only 1 made it. Certainly a lot more than 1 this year!

A photo-scoped Little Tern fledging

A photo-scoped Little Tern fledging

Photo-scoped Little Tern fledgling

Photo-scoped Little Tern fledgling

I was hoping to get a photograph of one of the youngsters flying, but simply taking a photo of a Tern flying proved a challenge! I did succeed in the end though. Well, an adult will have to do for now…

A Little Tern flying - an adult and not a fledgling, alas

A Little Tern flying – an adult and not a fledgling, alas

While out on the boat, we checked on the other colonies. There are a lot of fledglings about – Mediterranean Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns (as well as the stars of the show). There are also Common Tern chicks about, and the Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover chicks can’t have much time until they’re ready to fledge as well, so it looks like 2014 has been a successful year for the birds.

Juvenile Black-headed Gull

Juvenile Black-headed Gull

...and an adult Black=headed Gull

…and an adult Black=headed Gull

Adult Sandwich Tern - again struggled to photography a youngster!

Adult Sandwich Tern – again struggled to photography a youngster!

The other highlight of the day came from a pair of Eider ducks at low tide. This is only the second time I’ve seen Eiders around here, and the first time was at Fareham Creek (when a young male decided to hang around with the Mallards!)

male Eider Duck in eclipse plumage

male Eider Duck in eclipse plumage

As well as going out with Wez on the boat, I’ve been spending time in the office going through video footage collected by various camera traps that were set up at the beginning of the breeding season. Each of the cameras is next to a nest and so records what is taking place. While going through the footage, I’ve been noting down anything that happens – if the birds are disturbed, when the pair change over (they take turns at incubating the eggs) and when he chicks are fed, for example – as well as the date and time that this happens. Who needs SpringWatch when you can watch “Little Tern nest” cam? (That said, SpringWatch was brilliant this year…). It’s quite interesting watching the footage, but also challenging at times, particularly after the chicks have hatched as they’re rather mobile. Hopefully the notes from the footage will prove helpful for future years!

I can’t quite believe I’m coming to the end of my penultimate week with the RSPB. They say time flies when you’re having fun – it’s sadly true…

One thought on “…and we have lift off!

  1. My only ‘correction’ would be that you seem to have used the word ‘photography’ when maybe you should have said ‘photograph’ a couple of time. Also, sometimes I think it looks better to write 1 as one in the middle of your blog. I think you’re enjoying your time with the little terns.

    _____

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s