Black Tern, Common Tern and Sandwich Tern at Pembrey Harbour

Friday, September 10, 2010 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Thursday evenings tide was even higher than the day before so I positioned myself at Pembrey Harbour near Burry Port. Watching the water rush in was very impressive as the more open nature of the location meant that waves had the chance to build up before breaking and washing over the lower breakwaters. Unfortunately it clouded over after taking the picture below which rather put an end to any photography hopes that I'd had.

22408 - Spring tide at Pembrey Harbour

The main objective though was to scan the sandbank opposite the harbour which as you know from previous posts is an ideal location to see birds at high tide. The usual flock of Oystercatchers was as large as ever (I should really count them accurately one of these days to see how many there are) as were the usual mix of gulls including several Common Gulls. Mixing it up with the Geoffrey's (for some reason that is what me and my partner call all Oystercatchers and yes we are slightly mad) was a flock of sixty Knot. As hard as I stared at them I couldn't make one turn into a Curlew Sandpiper despite the numbers which have been seen around the area recently. I have a feeling that they could turn out to be my bogey bird of the season - that or Little Stint. The only other waders present were a group of seven Ringed Plovers.

The main bulk of the birds present, and certainly the most vocal, were the Terns. I counted at least 47 Sandwich Terns and 23 Common Terns but more were arriving all the time so the numbers could easily have been double that. There was a good mix of adults and juveniles with every conceivable variation of plumage between. At times certain birds were fishing not far from my position which gave me superb views as they dropped out of the sky and into the water. If you have the camera equipment and want shots of Terns fishing then I highly recommend Pembrey.

On one of my last scans across the bank before heading home I spotted a very small Tern that looked about half the size of the Commons. Being a birder who always errs on the side of caution I initially put it down to an unusually young juvenile. It wasn't until I spotted it for a second time that I noticed the much darker wings and differing black markings on the head. A moment later the bird was in the air showing a relatively square tail and confirming my first ever self found Black Tern. I was able to watch it fly across the water before being lost to sight over Burry Port. A fabulous bird and a brilliant way to round off the evening.

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