My quest for the white whale

I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up.

Okay, my dark desire is not quite as driven as crazy old Ahab’s, but I really want to see the leucistic “white” Sarnie Tern that’s been popping up in the roost between Ainsdale and Birkdale this past week.
I couldn’t get away from a job to see it yesterday, it wasn’t there on Tuesday, and I couldn’t find the damn thing today.
Odd how the obsession can get you – it’s not like it’s a tick or anything, but I need to see this critter!!!

Plenty of other terns in the roost today, with over 300 Sarnies, including a colour-ringed bird (blue with white lettering anyone?), Common Terns and just the one young Little Tern still hanging out with it’s bigger cousins.
As I counted the terns, more and more swept in and Sanderlings scurried about just a few feet from my position.

Ainsdale Sandwich Tern roost count 11.8.17:

Sandwich Tern 359
(juves = 29; 6 ringed birds, and one with a blue colour ring with white lettering)
Common Tern 24
Little Tern 1 juve

Only minor disturbance today – one jogger and one walker, otherwise the birds were left in peace before heading out to fish and bathe after the tide began to fall back.

Don’t forget if you make a count of Sandwich Terns on Ainsdale beach this autumn, please submit it to my work email at – for the second year we are surveying the tern roost and establishing the level of disturbance it suffers, so all data will be gratefully received – many thanks (and thanks to the Friends of the Sefton Coast volunteers who are helping out with the survey this year).

3 thoughts on “My quest for the white whale

  1. Hi John,
    Mick Turton had blue ring white number on at Spurn on 11th Aug. It was ringed at Scolt Head in Norfolk 9th/10th June 2017. It had yellow dye on it’s nape.
    Try Norfolk Bird Records on twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

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