Field sketches of a juvenile arctic tern that showed relatively well off the seafront this morning. The differences between this species and common tern are subtle and, in my opinion, require good prolonged views in good light to make identification certain. Of course it helps massively to have the two species side by side but even then I don't think they're easy!
An hour spent watching the sandbars off the seafront at first light this morning produced c60+ common tern, 1+ arctic tern, 2 arctic skua, 1 little egret, 1+ dunlin, 1 curlew, 2 juvenile grey herons and 1 yellow wagtail.
The ususal Orcombe circuit produced 1 willow warbler, 1 wheatear, 2 blackcap, 3 whitethroat, 5 starling, 2 yellow wagtail and my first grey wagtail of the autumn.
Two arctic skuas patrolling the bay but staying stubbornly distant. Good numbers of terns are bound to pull in passing skuas.
This wheatear actually allowed quite a close approach unlike the vast majority of individuals I encounter on Orcombe Point.