A couple of Terns around Weymouth

A few days in Dorset birdwatching in some fine sunny weather last week. Apart from one day, spent on Poole Harbour (more about which later in the week) I spent the remaining 3 days in and around Weymouth, a town which boasts 2 RSPB reserves. Radipole Lake in the town centre and Lodmoor on the eastern Edge.

It was to Lodmoor that I went on the evening I arrived, encouraged by the reports of a Roseate Tern seen there earlier in the day. The Roseate Tern is the rarest of our breeding Terns in the UK, being restricted to a few colonies in the north of the country. I started searching through the Common Terns which nest here and then one with a black bill (as opposed to the red bill of a Common). But it immediately flew off and I was left wondering if I had seen it or if my mind was playing tricks. Thankfully about 15 minutes later I found it again and was able to confirm the bill was all black and its slightly larger and longer appearance in comparison to the Common Terns.

Roseate Tern. Photo by Fyn Kind (https://www.flickr.com/photos/79452129@N02/)

The following morning I went to one of my favourite birdwatching spot at Ferrybridge, between Weymouth and Isle of Portland. It is on a long shingle bank which links Portland to the mainland and where the Chesil Fleet empties into Portland harbour. It is one of the few remaining sites in the UK for breeding Little Tern and this year there are 42 nests on the shingle banks alongside the Fleet.

From the road I could see a number of Little Terns sitting at the edge of the fleet and others were flying out into Portland Harbour to feed.

Little Tern. Photo by Michael MK Khor (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mk-creatures/)

In the afternoon I made my way to the RSPB reserve at Radipole lake, where the highlight were 2 Great White Egrets and a large flock of Sand Martins.

On my final morning in Weymouth I went to the southern most tip of the Isle of Portland, known as Portland Bill to view the seabird colony that nests there. sadly it is no longer possible to get round to view the main colony due to cliff erosion but I was still able to watch the birds as they left the colony or rested on the sea below. Both Guillemots and razorbills breed here and both were on the sea near Pulpit Rock. Otherwise it was pretty quiet (bird-wise at least!). I spent the afternoon back at Lodmoor, where although I added a few new species for the trip, there was no sign of the Roseate Tern.

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