Ecclesiastes 3:1 and the Wet Dog Shake

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” and this must be the season of the tern. The crew seem to remember a group with an avian name like “The Birds” singing a Pete Seeger song with these words, and the chorus “There  is a season, tern, tern, tern”, but maybe the old grey cells are failing. We never knew you could see so many of the handsome if noisesome seabirds inland, and what a pleasure they are.

Anyway, after an evening watching a couple of terns dive bombing the winding hole,  soon after setting off from the end of the Wendover in bright sunshine the next morning we’d acquired some accompanying entertainment. Wheeling and spiralling around the boat, sometimes coming within a foot or so one’s head, and sometimes even pulling up into an Immelmann turn (a WW1 aerobatic manoeuvre much beloved of the other Biggles and his chums).

Don’t know how they can see through the murky water stirred up by our transit, but  at one point, literally just behind the boat, a tern dived in four times: the first three it came up empty-beaked, but the fourth time it was successful,  and emerged with a sizeable fish and flew off to find some chips to go with it.

But what we’d never seen before (and you’d have to be fairly close to see it)… on the third dive it went deeper than the other, and when it had reached about 6 feet on the climb out, it did a wonderful “wet dog shake” from beak to tail while still airborne. Never seen that before…

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