Friday, 2 June 2017

One Good Tern Deserves Another

I was going to Preston today to have a look at Charlotte Ball's photographic exhibition. Charlotte has been accompanying the L.O.S. on a number of fieldtrips this year as part of her degree project at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. As is usual with type of arts course, the students create an exhibition of their work in the third year and so I went to have a look.

As I was going to be in the area I thought I'd also tie it in with my first visit to see the Terns at Preston Marina this year. Common Terns and sometimes Arctic Terns breed at the Marina in gravel boxes created by local school children, but I wasn't quite sure at what stage they'd be in terms of eggs and chicks. Today I could only see one Arctic Tern which seemed to be nesting on one of the platforms.

As soon as I arrived I realised that the birds were on eggs, but that no chicks had hatched yet and so I'd have be content with flight shots hopefully carrying fish back to their partners.  I love the green water colour here, but mainly when the sun is shining. When it's not sunny the water is quite a dull murky greyish colour and today it was like that most of the time.

However, I did mange a few closeup shots and saw some interesting behaviour when a Lesser Black-backed Gull passed too close - all the Terns started calling and eventually a few of them took off in a coordinated attack on the gull, successfully chasing it away.  A similar thing happened when a Carrion Crow pass by as well.

There were also a pair of Mute Swans with five cygnets swimming around the Marina.  They'd nested in their usual place amongst the Terns on one of the platforms and unfortunately a couple of eggs were lying unhatched still in the nest. It is far too late for these to hatch now as the adult Swans were busy looking after the mobile cygnets.

It was probably a little early for good shots and I might return in two or three weeks time when the eggs will have hatched and the adults will be actively feeding the young so there will be lots of great photo opportunities for fish and feeding shots.


  1. What has happened to the cygnets, they are nowhere to be seen now. The same thing happened last year, within a week of hatching they all disappeared. Alan

  2. Sorry I don't know as I'm not local and only visit once in a while. Unfortunately there are lots of very large gulls around and there's always a possibility that they've been predated.

  3. Lovely photos.....I too visited the marina the day the cygnets hatched, five days later when I visited next they were gone. The same happened last year. I wondered if the large Black Backed gulls may have predated them. It's very sad.


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