One Bird ID guide says there are only ‘around 400 recorded sightings of gull-billed terns in the UK’. Ever. In an average year, they’ll be about three. So when the news broke that a gull-billed tern was at Adwick Washland last night… well, you can imagine the excitement!

Here is the summary of sightings from Old Moor today …

The gull-billed tern is a very rare migrant here in the UK and a bird that breeds in southern Europe among other places. It’s a species that likes lakes, marshes and coasts – and Adwick apparently.

Unlike the common terns at Old Moor, the gull-billed tern is bigger, has a large, black bill, black legs and pale grey tail. But like all terns, it's a bit of a looker.

No introduction needed... oh alright, it's a gull-billed tern!

The earliest reports from Adwick this morning were that there was no sign of the tern but there were consolations in the form of eight little egret, one green sandpiper and an adult peregrine.

Not long after, the gull-billed tern returned and the news went out.

Black-tailed skimmer at Old Moor from Sam Wilson. Thanks Sam.

By twenty past nine the gull-billed tern had flown again. Then returned ten minutes later. By now, the seasoned watchers of the Dearne Valley began to discern a pattern!

And in fact, that was very much the picture of the day. At times the tern was ‘back on’, at others it was reported as having left.

As the day wore on, tense visitors arrived and were met with a ‘Yes, it’s just there’ or ‘Sorry, just gone. But it’ll probably be back in a minute’.

Amazingly at 18:05, it was still there, dropping jaws!

Another from Sam, a five-spot burnet moth. Thanks again!

So, if you are planning a visit tonight or perhaps even tomorrow, can I ask that you park responsibly and at the car park on Harlington Road then walk on to the reserve. They’ll be plenty of folk to help you find the tern and the best of luck!

Until next time.

Anonymous