Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Whiskered Tern

Today I went to Furui-chi again in the afternoon to see the nesting Little Ringed Plover which I found last week. Parent birds were still incubating their eggs. I'll save that for other posts. As I was sitting and photographing the plover, one small white bird flashed by over the nest. I was so surprised to find that it was a tern! I've never seen any tern species in Japan before and I was quite pleased to have seen this one. At first, I thought it might be a Little Tern, which is quite common in Japan, but later when the bird came back, I was more surprised to see that it was a Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) indeed. I remember that it is a scarce species in Japan, so that even makes me feel happier. However, it is one of the most numerous terns wintering in Thailand along with the Little, Common and White-winged Tern. The bird was still on its way moulting into breeding plumage with some black feathers on its underparts, blackish cap and red bill and feet. I followed the bird and it later perched in a small pond on the Sekino-e side of lotus fields. It was much more approachable than I expected and I was quite pleased with the results.

4 comments:

martesorex said...

Congratulation to see a Whiskered Tern!
It is called "クロハラアジサシ" for its blackish stomach in summer plumage.

Stu said...

There seems to have been a bit of an influx of this species, I and another birder have both seen them near Hakodate.....

Unravel said...

Thank you martesorex and Stu!
Yeah I've just looked up in my Japanese Bird Guide and found that the Japanese name for it is "black-bellied tern". In Thailand we have another species which has more completely black belly and it is officially called Black-bellied Tern in English as well.

Phil said...

That is a heck of a find and another one of those widespread species. I saw one in Menorca recently but they also turn up in the UK sometimes. Very good shots of its plumage at this time of year.