Readers’ wildlife photos

Get your wildlife photos in, please; we have a few in the tank and a lot of singletons, but I’m getting nervous. . .

Evolutionist John Avise has sent me a lot more than just the Duck O’ the Week photos, but I haven’t put many of them up in recent months. We’ll begin remedying that with today’s post, which John calls “One good tern deserves another.” Yes, it’s terns. John’s IDs and comments are indented.

     Here are several tern species that I’ve captured in flight, mostly against blue sky backdrops.

Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) Southern California (note the heavy ruby-red bill):

Elegant Tern (Sterna elegans), Southern California (note the thinner orange-red bill):

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri), Southern California (note the deeply forked tail and bi-colored bill):

Least Tern adult (Sterna antillarum), Southern California (note the yellow bill and white forehead):

Least Tern juvenile (Sterna antillarum), Southern California:

Black Tern juvenile (Chlidonias niger), Southern California:

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), Finland:

White Tern (Gygis alba), Hawaii:

Greater Crested Tern (Sterna bergii), South Africa (note the yellow bill):

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger), Southern California (note the long lower mandible):

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis), Florida (note the yellow-tipped black bill):

21 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Since the title of this post is a tern pun, I feel that consent has been implicitly given for the following:

    Scientists are studying the effects of cannabis upon sea-birds. They plan to leave no tern unstoned.

    1. Skimmers are terns in the sense that gulls, terns, and skimmers are all considered to be in the same family (Laridae), but each of these groups form their own subfamily (and indeed skimmers used to be classified in a separate family) so in that sense they are not terns.

  2. A remarkable set of in flight photos. I know from bitter experience how hard it is to catch terns in flight.

  3. Great pictures of marvellous birds. I like how many of these seafaring animals are familiar to birders in many parts of the world.

  4. These are really lovely photos of lovely birds. Terns can be frustratingly hard to identify, though. Every spring, arctic terns pass through my area (Ottawa, Canada) in varying (but always very small) numbers and birders gather at a particular point on the Ottawa River to watch the small shimmering far-out specks and try to determine which are Common Terns and which, if any, are Arctic. The more experienced tern watchers (or perhaps they’re just bolder) confidently call them out based on subtle differences in shape while the rest of us scratch our heads. This spring a birder was heard muttering “I hate arctic terns, they’re the bird I hate the most!”. I’ll never forget some years ago hearing a birder excitedly tell another that arctic terns were about, to which the second replied: “when you’ve seen one tern, you’ve seen them all.”

  5. Beautiful birds and photos. I had no idea that Southern California has so many tern species.

  6. Terns in flight are one of my favourite types of bird photos. They are so elegant. I’m sad there are no skimmers in Australia, I’d really like to see one. Thanks for sharing

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