Horsey Island

After a U-turn in Barnstaple when I discovered the Tern was seen at the Caen river mouth I picked up Sue Bruce and we headed to the fisherman's huts. Pelican viewable up-river opposite Fremington, then, as the tide fell, on the huge sandbank mid river. Along the Caen good numbers of Skylark and at least 2 Wheatears. Drifting downstream as the tide dropped, an Eider. Great Crested Grebe mid river. 5 Spoonbills over on Isley Marsh. We walked most of the way to the White House, but then decided perhaps the Tern would be at the Skern so retraced our steps.

Near the broken sluice we were joined by Mike from Tiverton, when an LBJ flew into the grass at the base of the embankment below us. Skylark I called, but it didn't look right. When it flew again Mike and I both called: WRYNECK! It flew the few yards across the flood and we had good views. However, we decided to head back to the fisherman's huts,  where we just kept scanning. Later we were joined by Stuart from Ashburton, and Andy Lansdell. Still no sign of the Tern. Although Mike picked out two Commic Terns across the Isley side.

Stuart left, and after a while lunch called and we followed him. What happened next was a birding tragedy- Stuart, who was by now heading down the toll road towards Crow Point came back to us to say he had seen the Tern flying up and down the Horsey mere, and had been frantically waving his arms at us to let us know. We didn't see him until too late and the bird had once again moved on..... this was at about 2p.m. So we decided to forgo lunch and head down to the Crow point area, where we scanned and scanned but in vain for a hint of the Tern. Alas it wasn't to be. A couple of Mediterranean Gulls was about the best.

Also seen on the flooded area were several Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwits, a Spotted Redshank, a Ruff, and 2/3 Kingfishers. Finally a Sparrowhawk perched on a roadside post as we drove back up the Toll road.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 4:10 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding