A Weird Weekend

No posts from later parts of last week, we were moving timber on Tuesday, chipping cherry laurel on Wednesday and I was not on site on Thursday or Friday, so I was looking forward to Saturday at Farlington. I arrived good and early, and found it was remarkably cold in the wind and very noisy. The noise of the road is something of a site hazard, but this was different, there was a “rave” going on, or perhaps more accurately drawing to a close in the A27 underpass. The cattle had all fled to the furthest part of the field, but were not looking happy as their trough is very close to the underpass. Luckily the police came along and persuaded them to clear up and go home, although this took a while. In the meantime I walked around the reserve and checked the cattle and saw remarkably little in the way of wildlife, the highlights were 2 avocet on the Lake and a male stonechat in the Hayfield, although the latter was actually very notable, June records on the reserve are very few. I also heard that I had missed the short-eared owl, which looks as if it is staying for the summer.

Things having quietened down I set off for Roydon Woods to take part in the Bioblitz event. It is a great site and we saw a wide range of species including a couple that were new to me including the six-spotted longhorn beetle.

six-spotted longhorn beetle

six-spotted longhorn beetle

I also saw a few species for the first time this year such as common blue butterfly and several freshly emerged keeled skimmer.

keeled skimmer freshly emerged

keeled skimmer freshly emerged

I was not working on Sunday but headed down to Roydon Woods again to attend the excellent Wood Fair. This proved to a be a good move as I happened to hear that there had been a Caspian tern reported at Testwood Lakes. Now this is a bird that I had nearly seen several times. On one occasion I even saw the bird but as a distant and unidentifiable dot, so the prospect of seeing one was tantalising, so after the Wood Fair I went, more in hope than expectation, to see if it was still there. I expected to find a crowd at the reserve, so finding nobody about I guess this was to be another failure, unless of course the news had somehow not got out. Then I remembered the hides are closed at 16:00 and we did not arrive until well after 17:00, still we walked round to see if there was any chance it was still present and there was a way to see it. The answer was yes to all and every question, the tern was there and the hide was open, the light was good the bill was huge and red and I had seen a Caspian tern at last!

Caspian tern

Caspian tern

It was a stunning adult, the largest tern species in the world, they are huge for a tern and have a massive red bill, really heavy for a tern, in fact the whole bird has a very chunky look, with a wide square chest and a “don’t mess with me” look.

Caspian tern

Caspian tern

So my weekend contained a number of strange and unexpected events, from a rave at Farlington to to a Caspian tern at Testwood Lakes.


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