Look Who Terned Out Today

This morning I was watching some Forster’s Terns swooping and diving around the salt marsh. These birds are one of the most (quite possibly *the* most) challenging bird in flight subjects I will ever photograph. Forster’s Terns are small, VERY fast and erratic flyers. They somehow seem to be able to move quickly in any direction instantly, and then dart away or dive down with no predictable pattern. Plus this morning we had a stiff wind blowing out across the marsh which made trying to follow focus one of these tiny jets extremely difficult as they got blown about.

They often fly with their heads facing down looking for a fish that can be snatched from the water with a speedy dive . Here, one emerges from the water, flies out across the marsh, then shakes itself off before zipping back out to action once again. I was close to being dizzy by the time I left. 🙂 

Tern Fishing and Shaking Off

Tern Fishing and Shaking Off

Tern Fishing and Shaking Off

Tern Fishing and Shaking Off

Tern Fishing and Shaking Off

Tern Fishing and Shaking Off

50 thoughts on “Look Who Terned Out Today

  1. All spectacular and way worth the effort. I find them very quick to alter course so I know what an accomplishment these are! Picture two is such an interesting angle of body, wings and tail feathers

  2. Phil, really – you are a wonder the way you actually manage to capture shots like these. That you also give us an insight into the habits and ways of the animals and birds of the salt marsh is such a treat. Congratulations, and thank you … it’s a daily delight to see what you’re going to share each morning. Best wishes for a happy holiday, in case I don’t catch up beforehand. 🙂

    • Well I greatly appreciate your very kind words about my photos and I’m so happy you enjoyed these tern shots!
      Thanks so much for your continued interest and support!
      Hope you enjoy your holiday as well.

  3. Phil, these pictures are just superb! To catch these little creatures at the speed that they fly takes real talent and the detail is amazing! To think that they can shake out their feathers whilst flying at that speed is something else – and the fact that you caught it so beautifully , wow!

    • I think they would have been having a lot more fun if they were catching fish, but it was a rough day out there and they seemed to be mostly coming up empty.
      Glad you liked the tern photos!

    • The water shake off and spray shots were my favorites as well, it’s the first time I have captured that and it all happens so fast I was barely aware they were even doing it.
      I’m back to my normal (only slightly dizzy) self, thanks.

  4. Great title…hee hee. Love these– for such a difficult subject, you certainly nailed these, Phil. Sharp and varied. I love the one where he’s shaking the water from his head! Great set.

    • What was blurry was me after spending a little time trying to track and follow these super fast little buggers especially as the wind was blowing us both around at the same time. Thanks David!

  5. Loved the pun in the title. I can’t believe you were able to capture these mercurial birds. What beautiful, clear detail! They are very pretty.

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