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YARE VALLEY: Caspian Tern at Buckenham

19th July 2012 

Caspian Terns have a bit of a reputation for being tricky to pin down, so today's after work jaunt with Neil was done with more hope than expectation. We headed for Buckenham, which seemed to be the centre-point of this birds wanderings. We parked at the station and headed down to the fishermen's car park at around 16:45. The tern hadn't been seen for a couple of hours, but almost immediately a birder on the bank picked it up flying swiftly along the river towards Strumpshaw. 15 minutes or so later and it was back. This time the Caspian Tern left the river and flew behind us over the marshes, giving crippling views against the dark skies as it drew level with us. It then headed towards the mill, circled and headed off towards Cantley Beet Factory. It was noticeable just how quickly and powerfully it flew with a definite sense of purpose as it disappeared into the distance. 

With the Caspian Tern flying at will up and down the Yare Valley between Strumpshaw and Breydon, it is surely not out of the question that it will venture further west to Whitlingham if it lingers much longer. Fingers crossed!


  1. I parked at the Buckenham RSPB car park north of the station at 505pm.

    Crossed railway and walked down track.

    Very large tern headed east over the marsh past the hide: the Caspian.

    Dipped a second view at east end of Breydon in the evening but had two roseate terns at Lowestoft.

    A larger white bird roosted off the north side at 910pm was probably the Caspian, not sure. Was there 855. Thunderstorm on Acle Straight on way back.

  2. Given how mobile this bird (and some of the previous ones!) have been, I'm pleased to have seen it at the first attempt! Doubly so as it wasn't seen the next day. It was my first rare tern in Norfolk - a White-winged Black Tern over the summer would do nicely.