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Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Tue 25th June 2013 17:59 by Mary Smith
Little Tern?
In Belhus Woods Country Park today we saw a small whitish bird flying over the pond called Swan Lake. This lake has an island near the middle, with some wooded banks and a large area of grassland grazed heavily by assorted Geese, mainly Canada G but with some Greylag G too.  There are also Mallards, Coots, and often Moorhens. assorted Gulls are also often seen, especially in winter. Then we saw this pale bird flapping its wings very fast and hovering over the water, then diving down but returning to the sky soon after. This was repeated many times, until we got tired of watching it. Presumably, it was fishing, but we saw no fish. The bird had a white forked tail, but not hugely forked. The open wings looked greyish, fairly barred or speckled in light grey/brown patterns, but pure white underneath. Most of the plumage was white.

We are not birders! But looking in a bird book when we got home, it seemed to fit best the Little Tern. The term 'Little' is no help for us, as we have no idea what kind of size any other kind of tern might be. Does Little Tern seem likely?  Is it common in Essex? BWCP is about 3 miles S of Aveley and about 6 or 7 miles from the Thames estuary.



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