Tuesday 22 June 1915, New Romney


I spent an hour this evening on the beach. The young common terns are very easy to find, for instead of squatting immediately they observe danger approaching, they often start to run and only crouch when one is about 40 or 50 yards away. One was found with the tail of a sand eel protruding from its bill. On pulling this out it proved to be about six inches long, which was longer than the bird itself. The head seemed partially digested so I suppose it would have been assimilated by sections! Whitebait and small garfish are also eaten.


The baby nightjar had moved a couple of feet from its birthplace.


A curious feature about the eggs of the common tern is that there is often one out of a clutch of three differing in character from its fellows. By this I mean that the markings may vary in size, shape and distribution as well as in the relative numbers of the overlaying and underlying marks. I have always fancied that a certain ‘family’ resemblance ran through a clutch of eggs and that the deposition of the pigment on the shell was always, more or less, on the same lines, so to speak, however much the eggs might differ in the density of the colour and the accidental distribution of the markings. The common tern has in a number of instances quite upset this theory!




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