Roseate Terns – Titchfield Haven, Hampshire

Titchfield Haven and Hill Head are great sites for Roseate Terns in July and the first returning birds (probably from Coquet Island in Northumberland) were seen on 11th July. I was due there the next day and so I hoped they’d hang around. 

I was pleased to see on my phone that 2 adults were seen early the next morning at the adjacent Hill Head. I got into the Meon Hide at around 10am and by 11am we had picked out 2 adult Roseate Terns towards the back of south scrape on island D. They showed well for 30 minutes or so although the Common Terns were constantly wheeling around the reserve and so the Roseates did look a little skittish and as though they were likely to fly at any moment. 

They were much paler than the accompanying Common Terns and their bills were noticeably banded with a red base and a black tip. In some lights I noticed a rosy flush to the breasts and the white inner primaries were visible in contrast to the dark outer primaries. The tails were also significantly longer than the wing tips.

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