Tuesday 26 April 2011


Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea). Photographer: Ben Lascelles (taken from IBC-Lynx).

Arctic Sea Swallows in Extremadura? Hard to believe. Extremadura is a fair way from the sea and even further from the arctic, but it seems that some birds from those latitudes have passed through the region. Witness "Aves de Portugal" (Catry et al, 2010).

This book reports the first ever record for Extremadura. A flock of 8 Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) were seen flying over the River Tagus on 17 May 2002, where it runs along the Spanish-Portuguese border between Malpica do Tejo (Portugal) and Herrera de Alcántara (Cáceres). The birds were seen by Luis Gordinho. This surprising record, published and accepted by our Portuguese colleagues, seems to be trustworthy. This same birdwatcher has also seen other Arctic Terns along the Portuguese coast and is apparently conversant with the species. Although there are no known records hitherto of birds in inland Spain, the same publication also records another bird the same year in inland Portugal, in Paul de Boquilobo on 26 June 2002.

Catry, P., Costa, H., Elias, G. and Matias, R. 2010. Aves de Portugal. Ornitología do territorio continental. Assirio & Alvim. Lisbon.