Wild Harris

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern 1 CReddick.jpgArctic Tern    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

One of the first signs of spring is the return of the arctic tern to Harris. You often hear their ‘tirrick, tirrick’ call before you see them flying over the beach. They have flown all the way from the South Atlantic to get here.

They nest on the edge of the beach, in amongst pebbles. In fact, the eggs are disguised to look like pebbles.

You can see terns feeding on the sea – they hover over the sea then dive into the water to catch sand eels.

Artic Tern 2 CReddick.jpgArctic tern    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

You can tell an arctic tern from a common tern by the see through feathers on the edges of the wings.

When the arctic tern leaves Harris in Autumn it goes on one of the longest journeys of any animal. It flies all the way down to the south Atlantic and spends the winter in the waters off South America.

by Alison Tyler