Tuesday 8 August 2017

White-winged Black Tern

WWBT - even in this long range photo of it, on Bull Hill, you can see there's no black shoulder smudge. If you click on the photo you can enlarge it.
Luckily I've been able to dedicate some time to sussing yesterday's 'possible' White-winged Black Tern. It certainly made me sweat today. I searched for it for the first hour of light and then became convinced that it would be on Bowling Green so I went there. It wasn't there so I went back to the Imperial and had it very briefly before it zoomed off towards the Warren. It looked white-rumped but I was unable to progress the id much beyond what I'd got on it yesterday. I've been looking for it for much of today and was about to jack it in when I picked it up, around 1730, on Bull Hill. To say I was relieved is an understatement! I was away when last Friday's adult turned up on Bowling Green so it was great to get this one, Exmouth tick 'n' all!
Key features include the warm brown-toned mantle, contrasting with paler grey wings and white rump, lack of Black Tern's shoulder 'smudge' and subtly different structure - stockier build and short bill relative to head size.
Lee and Ivan were able to scope it from the Warren as it fed in the river - no mean feat considering the distance. Hopefully they'll get it within the Warren boundary.
Also seen today - 1 Slavonian Grebe, 32 Sanderling, c30+ Common Tern, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 6+ Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 160+ Sandwich Tern and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull that was picked up by Pete Aley around midday, and still present this evening. Great to see Pete and to meet Ian today, and also to see Tim and Dave at Bowling Green.
Wood Sandpiper - Bowling Green - also seen - 1 Green Sandpiper, 7 Gadwall and 1 Pochard amongst the usual stuff.


  1. Glad you finally nailed it Matt, well done for not giving up.

    1. Thanks Tim - I was lucky I had the time today. Very relieved. Great to see you this morning. All the best. Matt

  2. Another great bird Matt - and I echo Tim's comments. When I saw the text from Mark Bailey I guessed it was going to be the moulting ad from last week, so well done on finding a second bird on the Exe!

  3. Many thanks Mike. It caused me a little stress but was worth the effort in the end. Lee is the only person to have had good views of it so far. Always a long way off for me. Cheers. Matt