Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

The first recorded spring arrival of Sandwich Tern was on 6th April at Port Righ Bay, near Carradale in Kintyre by Alistair Paterson. Further sightings continued during April with records from Kintyre, Cowal, Islay and Tiree. The photo was taken from Machrihanish Seabird Observatory in Kintyre by Jo Goudie, the assistant warden.

The Sandwich Tern is a relatively large tern, which is found around our coasts during the breeding season and breeds in colonies on sand and shingle beaches, islands and spits. Sandwich terns feed on fish, such as sand eels, sprats and whiting, which they catch by diving into the water.

The Sandwich Tern is whitish-grey above and white below, with a large black cap (the forehead becomes white in winter) and a shaggy, black crest. It has short, black legs, and a black bill with a yellow tip. It has a short tail without ‘streamers’ (long feathers extending past the main tail).

Many of the important Sandwich Tern colonies in the UK survive because they are on nature reserves specifically looked after for their wildlife value. The Wildlife Trusts manage many coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. Named after Sandwich Bay in Kent, the Sandwich Tern is one of three birds to be named after Kent – the others are the Kentish Plover and the Dartford Warbler.

Please click on the audio link to learn more about the Sandwich Tern :-

Photo courtesy of Jo Goudie