Birdwatch: my shut encounter with somewhat tern

It was the fowl’s distinctive motion that made me take a re-assessment. Small and pale, with slender, swept-back wings and a buoyant flight – reminding me, within the phrases of the author Simon Barnes, of a gull that’s died and gone to heaven.

A look by my binoculars, and its black crown, white brow, and custard-yellow invoice confirmed that it was a little tern – the smallest of its household, and solely the third particular person I had ever seen in Somerset.

The fowl paused momentarily in mid-air, twisted its wings, and plunged into the murky waters of the River Parrett, rising with a small fish, earlier than flying south upriver and out of sight.

It had already been a rewarding morning, with a gradual stream of swallows and sand martins, additionally heading south. A wide variety of different early autumn passage migrants, too: two frequent sandpipers bobbing on the mud beside the sluice, and at the least half a dozen wheatears, flashing their white rumps as they flitted up on to a row of fenceposts, revealed by the receding tide.

Better of all, a rating of yellow wagtails – not the canary-coloured adults however somewhat drab-looking juveniles – bouncing round on the grassy space alongside the ocean wall. In just some weeks, they are going to be feeding alongside large recreation in sub-Saharan Africa; additionally the winter vacation spot of the little tern.

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