Whiskered Tern – Pennington Flash CP, Greater Manchester

After the Least Sandpiper we retraced our steps to the motorway and then headed north up the M6. Pennington Flash was well signposted and we turned into the Country Park at 10:45am. We needed to pay for the car park but between us we didn’t have the change required! I had a £5 note and began to queue at a Burger Van, although the queue was fairly short he was taking forever and I started to get a little anxious.

In the end I gave Dad my £5, suggested he get some crisps and I grabbed my scope before walking to the waters edge which was just 15 yards away. Although this wasn’t the place where the bird was being seen it did offer reasonable views over most of the lake.

Within a few minutes I had located a tern with a smoky grey back, a shallow forked tail and when it banked away from me it revelead a very striking blackish belly. I looked back towards Dad in the Burger Van queue, he was craning his neck to check how I was doing and I beckoned him over. We watched the Term for 10 minutes as it banked and dipped over the lake. In the end we never paid to park and after a brief break for lunch Dad took over the driving and we headed home.

A very satisfying double tick day, the previous occasions when I’ve enjoyed two ticks in one day were all on the Isles of Scilly:- Little Swift and Lesser Kestrel in May 2002, Paddyfield Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Oct 2001 & Short-toed Eagle and Siberian Thrush in Oct 1999.

We arrived back in Wellow at 3:15pm and after a cup of tea I got back to Poole at 4:30pm, a round trip of 538 miles.

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