Gull billed tern on the Teign

A gull billed tern was recently found on the River Teign just to the south of the A380 near Newton Abbott. It is vaguely on my my way into work so I couldn’t resist the temptation to go and see it.

Gull billed terns are marsh terns and although they have very infrequently bred in the past in the UK they are rare summer visitors. Naturally they breed in warmer climes in southern Europe and elsewhere in the world. There are breeding populations in northern German too.

Gull billed tern 1
I saw the bird within 2 minutes of arriving at the Passage Inn Car Park in Kingsteignton

Gull billed tern 3
It is about the size of a sandwich tern but has a stockier all black bill

Gull billed tern 7
Unlike the terns we are more familiar with in the UK it doesn’t dive into the sea to catch fish – it eats invertebrates such as this worm or hawks for prey in the air

Gull billed tern 8
Take off

Gull billed tern 9If you enlarge this picture (it is very grainy) you can see it has caught a small crab (perhaps)

IMG_3683The view from the Passage House Inn up to the A380 flyover along with the channel of the Teign where the bird was feeding

It is unlikely to stay here very long

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