Sunday 20th April 2014
Got a call from Dennis W. first thing saying a few Arctic terns had dropped in at Shustoke Res. With overcast skies and rain in the air I decided it was worth a go even though I didnt have alot of time. No sign when I got there though, I checked out Coton on the off chance but nothing doing there either. I'd just returned home when a call from Dave H. said 2 Arctic terns had just dropped in to Shustoke. Cash in or cash out. Do you - Dont you? Guests were not arriving till later than I'd thought so off I set again. Having parked up it was clear what Terns there were, were down at the far end. Great, a brisk walk was called for. I could see 3 birders on the far bank so I headed off round the west bank. I was half way round the bank when something almost surreal happened. I was suddenly surrounded by Arctic terns flying low only just above head height against the strengthening wind. I reckoned a flock of about 20 birds. It reminded me of a scene from the film 'Tora, Tora, Tora', about the Japanese attack on Pearl Habour. A young lad was having a flying lesson when his little plane is surrounded by Japanese Zero fighters coming in to attack.
Anyway, I continued around the reservoir to where the flock was concentrated. Dave H. Martyn and Kay were already there, watching the flock of 26 Arctic Terns and a single adult Little Gull. It s always a great sight every spring to see these long distance migrants in such pristine plummage. On the way back to the car park I saw my first Swift of the year. So it had been a quite productive visit.