Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Turn for the Terns

Acting on a post from Pete Scholtens on the Hamilton Birders Group site, I headed to Princess Point early before work a few weeks ago (yes, I'm very behind - this was last August I believe) with word that the mud flat in the outlet from Chedoke Creek was exposed and populated with lots of shore birds.

I started on the east shore of Princess Point and across the water on the mud flat where a mix of about 30 to 40 adult and juvenile Caspian Terns were raising a very large ruckus.

Part of the large group of Caspian Terns mixing company with gulls.
Aside from raptors, one of my favourite birds are Terns.  They have such clean lines, the rhythm of their flight is so unique and purposeful, and they are constantly busy with an eye to the water, resulting in frequent plunges into the water in pursuit of a small fish.  I spent some time trying to capture them as they circled around, resulting in some nice photos and a large crick in my neck and shoulder from holding my camera posed for so long.

Hovering before the plunge.

Deodorant still fresh?

Caspian Tern

Flying into a bit of sun.

A catch of a small fish is the reward of the many attempts they make.

Caspian Tern dive.

Unsuccessful dive attempt.

The smaller Gulls there (I never was able to ID them) waited opportunely for just after terns begin the ascent from the water after their dive and then chase the Terns, hoping to harass them into dropping their catch for a hijacked meal.  Interesting, considering the Gulls were smaller than the Terns.

Caspian Tern chased by smaller gull.

A successful catch.

This Tern's crop shows evidence of a recent meal.

Caspian Tern in flight.

As I headed back to the car along the shore, I flushed this group of Mallards which had been sleeping under a willow tree.

Female Mallard Ducks taking flight.

At the same time an Osprey circled overhead, and Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons were wading in the waters. Although I enjoy my work, they were all making me want to linger instead of heading to the office. So, over the next few days, I headed back a couple mornings, heading to the other side of the outlet, closer to the mud flat to see the shore birds. A post on that to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Terns are so fun to watch! Great shots.....I especially like the "fresh deodrant" shot :)


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