Bridled Tern and Arctic Terns
Fast forward a year and the bird had turned up again after a couple of days on the mythical Fair Isle. I received a call from Brendan Fagan saying he was going up for it and did I want a lift. Yes was my answer and so at 3am I met up with Brendan outside his house and off we went stopping briefly to pick up Tyttenhanger GP's regular Ricky Flesher. We made good time and arrived in Seahouses just before 9am. We went and paid for our tickets only to find that we were the only 3 going for it! Due to this we had to join an all day trip which dropped off quite a few people onto Staple Island so they could all use their big lenses taking photos of the seabirds. After getting everyone off the boat took us to Inner Farne. We arrived and stayed on the boat scanning the rocks by the jetty. We had been told while on the mainland that the bird was still present by the warden but try as we could we couldn't find it. Just then after 5 minutes the skipper said we had to go back to Staple Island to pick everyone up again as the swell was becoming too bad and they may not get off the island! We picked them all up in what felt like less of a swell than when we dropped them off and once all were on board the boat trundled around the islands for more photo opportunities and more time was ebbing away to see our quarry. Eventually we arrived back on dry land and were told that we would get 3 hours on Inner Farne before we would have to leave again.
After a quick bite to eat we were back on the boat and excited to get onto the island. But then the skipper asked us if we wanted to go to the island or go look at a pod of around 40 Bottle-Nosed Dolphins. Of course being outnumbered the dolphins won and for another 30 minutes we weren't going to the island. I think the look of desperation on our faces made the skipper feel guilty and eventually we were on our way. The three of us pushed our way to the front of the boat and quickly disembarked only to be met by the wardens asking if we had a ticket and if not we'd have to buy one. Some birders were already present and looking at the bird so I (what most likely came out rudely) said I'm gonna look at the bird then I'll pay you! But they weren't having any of it so I paid and set up my scope and at last laid my eyes on my first ever BRIDLED TERN. It was sat on the rocks just to the right of some Puffins and after getting a couple of photos it took off and disappeared! Skin of the teeth birding! Another boat arrived and I had to tell the birders on board it had just flown. I knew that feeling but luckily it wasn't my turn this time. After 20 minutes it was re-found and we all had cracking views. Happy and with a 5+ hour drive home ahead of us we left the islands and arrived back at Brendan's house just after 9pm. Stupidly I'd parked under a cherry tree and my clean car was covered in twigs, cherries and bird poo. But I didn't care! 1200 hundred miles and 46 hours of driving over 2 years but Bridled Tern is on the list. Thanks go to Brendan for the driving and both of them for the company. Lets hope the next biggy is slightly closer to home!