Saturday, 19 November 2016

Forster's Tern, Mistley Essex

Breaking news early this afternoon of the presence of a possible Forster's Tern at Mistley in Essex, The possible turned into a positive ID at 1.45pm.
A mad dash around the house duly followed and after meeting Brian around 2.30pm we set off up the A12. The race against the fading light began and luckily there were no hold ups on route. We reached the Quay to find only two other birders present. Both had seen the bird only minutes before we arrived, and told us that it had flown out towards the two green buoy's in the distance.
The car park quickly filled with cars and birders were soon lined up along the Quayside. I decided to train the scope on the area around the two green buoy's and the large boat between them, and I was rewarded when the 1st winter Forster's Tern suddenly appeared over the right-hand buoy heading straight towards us! A quick call to the gathered birders got them on it,  before it turned and flew low across the water's surface heading towards the two boats that were moored up. With the light fading fast this was to be the only views we had of the bird, but we stayed at the Quayside until the light had completely gone.

Today's individual is only the 2nd record for Essex, the first being in 1998 when another 1st winter frequented the West Mersea, Hamford Water and Tollesbury area's from the 16th November until the 24th April.  when it crossed the Essex/Suffolk border today it also became a first record for Suffolk! 

Another very welcome if an unexpected addition to the life list.


  1. Hi Catherine, Correct Mistley is in Essex, but the Quay is right on the border of Essex and Suffolk. So when the Forster's Tern flew across that border into Suffolk air space it is countable as a Suffolk tick as well as an Essex tick.