One of the first people to see the Royal Tern was Mary Whyte while jogging on Littor Strand. It was the beak she noticed. Margaret Stack was doing an early morning Yoga meditation couldn’t believe her eyes and her binoculars and immediately recognised what she was dealing with. After all she was just returned from the Americas on a bird watching tour that took in the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Atlantic.
The Royal Tern is a seabird of the tern family. It is distinctive in its red/orange bill and black cap. They are never seen in Europe and this particular Tern was seen earlier in Mayo. A leg wound identified it.
For this visitor to arrive in the Shannonside was big news. A huge number of bird watchers arrived and got great footage of the visitor. There is an excellent utube of the Royal Tern on Littor Strand, the visitor also crossed over to Carrigaholt.
Donie O Keeffe has suggested that the Tern followed Margeret Stack back from Florida. Donie himself had seen an African Royal Tern on his last trip to Gibraltar.
Sean Stack wonders why, on the weekend that Dublin barely beat Kerry, the Tern arrived down from Mayo. Could it be a transference of bad luck from Mayo to Kerry? Does it open up the possibility of Mayo winning the All Ireland?