Full marks to Jon Lyles for finding Northamptonshire’s 5th Caspian Tern, loitering on ‘the slips’ at Summer Leys this morning. It was discovered around 10.40 and remained settled there until midday, when it took to the air and headed off north-east.
Gone? Unlikely. Caspian Terns have a habit of flying off – sometimes visiting sites many miles away – before returning hours later. Luckily, this one conformed and it was back and showing in the Wader Bay from 13.30 until 14.10, when it was off again. This time it appeared to fly south but it was seen shortly afterward heading west over nearby Hardwater Lake at 14.35. As luck would have it, it was relocated at Clifford Hill GP around 16.30, remaining there until at least 19.00 and putting on a good show as it flew up and down the River Nene close to the Weston Mill sluice. Twenty minutes later it had gone, heading off high to the west.
This bird had a red ring on its left leg and may have been ringed in Sweden.
Caspian Tern, as well as being a national rarity, remains a true rarity in Northants with just four previous records as follows:
1967: Pitsford Res, 2 on 12th July 1968: Stanford Res, one on 3rd June 1998: Ditchford GP/Stanwick GP/Earls Barton GP, one on 1st August 2003: Stanwick GP/ Earls Barton GP, one between 16th and 20th July
Many thanks to Clive Bowley for supplying images.