Saturday, 2 October 2010


Today I woke at 7.30am, made a snap decision to twitch the juvenile White-winged Black Tern in Hyde Park, and was on a train at 7.59am. Got to the park just before 9am, where it was sunny and very pleasant, with plenty of stuff to photograph if I had no luck with the tern. I had forgotten to bring a spare memory card but I wasn't overly worried. Ha...

The tern was exactly where it was supposed to be, sitting on a post under the bridge across the Serpentine/Long Water. I went over for some distant photos and was wondering whether to get some 'looking down' pics from the bridge when it took off and flew towards me.

It was a cast-iron nightmare to photograph in flight. Quick, up and down all the time and almost completely unpredictable. Soon I had half a memory card full of whitish blurs, plus the odd sharpish shot.

Its routine was to feed for about 20 minutes, then return to its perch to doze and preen for about the same amount of time. The bridge gave great views, if a bit top-downy.

A stretch of the wings and a vigorous shake-out meant it was almost time for take-off.

A luckyish shot of a 'dipping' moment (it would be an unqualified lucky shot if it had been in focus...)

There was other stuff to see in the park too, but I was running out of time - and space on that one memory card. For the first time ever I actually deleted some of the hopelessly blurry pics (this is normally an 'at home' job) to free up some space.

Big female Sparrowhawk, luckily not in the mood for a marsh-tern breakfast.

Two Coots making love not war, which makes a change.

Female Tuftie pretending to be asleep on almost completely still and perfect water, by some fluke. It turns out that 'still and perfect' isn't all that intersting to look at, without a good reflection.

and finally... this cheeky munchkin got up on the back of my bench and tapped me on the shoulder, while I was sitting deleting blurry WWBT photos. Then he spotted a nearby picnic and rushed off to pillage it.


Tony Morris said...

Hi, are you sure that your duck isn't a Ferruginous Duck (White under-tail coverts)

Marianne said...

No T, definitely a Tuftie - some females do have white UTCs (just like some have white patches around the bill-base to make us think they're Scaups!) Also female Ferruginous are dark-eyed.

Tony Morris said...

Your absolutely right, I didn't look properly! There are so many Fudge ducks in the London parks (or were in Regents park when I worked in London), I got used to seeing them asleep like that. Nice Tern photos, what a surprise in the centre of town!

Des McKenzie, said...

Lovely tern shots.