Tern away

Tuesday 28th January comments: Whilst we know the majority of our breeding seabirds remain in the North Sea, others do go further including Kittiwakes off to Greenland (as mentioned in yesterdays blog). However some of our birds go even further as a warmer winter appeals (and who would blame them?)

The Isle of May supports a small population of both Sandwich and Common Terns (both slowly increasing on the May) and they generally depart the island in August with a few stragglers seen in September. However from then on, both species head south to West Africa for the winter. In recent years we know that birds from the Isle of May (pictured above with a ring – taken by Theuns Kruger) have been seen on a beach complex near Cape Town approximately 8,198 miles south of the Isle of May (!) and is a known wintering site for Sandwich Terns. The movements of Common Terns are similar with UK ringed birds wintering along the tropics.

These incredible movements are part of an annual cycle for these two Tern species, which both nest on the Isle of May but shows the different wintering areas birds will choose. However we still have one more species to mention, which winters even further away and is the longest distant bird migrant of them all. But more on that soon…

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