Monday, 5 May 2014

The Pagham Beach Terns

I notice that a comment on the Save Pagham Beach Facebook recently queried the identification of a poor quality long distance photo of the returning Little Terns in the harbour.  I am sure other beach residents may be interested in correct identification of the Little Terns which have created considerable interest in relation to the controversy of the 'new' spit!

So....the three Terns that are most likely to be seen from the beach are ....
Little Tern....very small with bright yellow bill with black tip

Common Tern...larger with red bill with black tip
Sandwich Tern....largest Tern with black bill with yellow tip.
 All three terns can be readily identified by their calls as they are quite vocal when fishing along the channel and in the harbour. The Sandwich Tern does not breed in the harbour but the Common Tern tends to use Tern Island whilst the rare Little Tern shows a distinct preference for the spit!
Three other terns are seen from time to time....Arctic Tern, Black Tern and Roseate Tern but only when they passing though on their long migration routes. All three of 'our'  terns have now arrived so keep an eye (and ear) out!

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