Today saw a remarkable influx of White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, in several parts of northern Germany. Observations were recorded from the Seeburger See (lake) near Goettingen (1 indiv.), from the Wedeler Marsch near Pinneberg (13 indiv.), from the Winsener Marsch near Winsen an der Luhe (2 indiv.), from the Sulzdorfer Wiek on the islands of Fehmarn (3 indiv.), from the Okeraue near Braunschweig (1 indiv.), from the “Langes Moor” near Cuxhaven and a maximum of 252 indiv. from Dreye (a southern suburb of Bremen in Niedersachsen.
Mid of may is generally a good time to see White-winged Terns. In the evening of May, 14th of 2007 more than 200 individuals of these terns flew over the nature reserve “Streng”. Sometimes the terns picked in front of the observation tower in short hovering flights insects from the reed bed. In the meantime other White-winged Terns flew over the meadows where they were seen in company with Gulls, Common Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus). Remarkably, only one Black Tern, Chlidonias niger, mixed among the many White-winged Tern.
The White-winged tern used to be a rare bird in Germany. This although the breeding range of the White-winged tern extends from the Far East to Central Europe.
The bird winters in the southern temperate zones and the tropics. The European population and the population of Turkestan migrate over Arabia and the Sahara in the Sahel to South Africa.
Now the White-winged tern breeds in Germany, too. By far the largest breeding colony of Germany is located in the Lower Oder Valley National Park. 50 pairs bred there in 2006. On the western edge of the distribution area observations of the birds had increased significantly. This increases the chances to see these beautiful terns in other parts of Germany, too. If you are interested in more Images of the so-called Marsh Terns from the genus Chlidonias please have a look here!