Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Good Tern Deserves Another

Living as close to the Gulf Coast as we do (and having kids that jump with excitement every time the word "beach" is uttered), you would expect we would spend quite a bit of our summers frolicking in the waves and brushing sand off our tushies. Unfortunately, we don't tend to get down to the beach nearly as much as any of us would like to.

However, I did make a run down to Quintana Beach a few weeks ago and was surprised at the number of terns that were present. Until the last year or so — when my interest in birds really grew into something that went beyond "Oh look, there's a bird!" — I had always lumped many of the shorebirds found at our local beaches into that ignorant misnomer of "sea gulls." But with the (mostly) patient tutoring of several more experienced birders on recent outings, I'm quickly beginning to discover the vast variety of gulls and terns. Here are a couple of my recent forages into tern identification:

Caspian Tern - 4/24/2009
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

Royal Terns - 4/24/2009
Royal Terns (Sterna maxima)
(with more photos here and here)

Other terns seen on the trip included Least Terns, Sandwich Terns and a solitary Black Tern. Unfortunately, I didn't make it back with any decent shots of these.

For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly #39.

Bird Photography Weekly


Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Lovely tern shots, Kyle! Terns, indeed are quite difficult to ID in the field. And then there are those gulls....

2sweetnsaxy said...

Wow, these are beautiful shots. I couldn't remember the name of them and was too lazy to look it up. I'm just beginning to do more than just see a bird too.

Kelly said...

...I really don't know a lot about the shorebirds, terns, and gulls, but I'm studying them like crazy so I can become familiar with them. I do know the Royal Terns...I love watching them on the beach (once a year vacations unfortunately!). Hilton Head had a lot of them last summer. Love your photo of them and the flight photo of the Caspian Tern.

Mary said...


Thank you for the nice comment...

It's so soothing to visit here and see your beautiful family and beautiful bird photos. I intend to add you to my blogroll - problem is: I don't have time for reading or posting lately! None!

In a few months, I hope.


Larry Jordan said...

Great captures of the Terns Kyle! The in flight shot of the Caspian Tern is very cool. It is amazing, the variety of shorebirds and their variations. It does make forr a challenge.

gwendolen said...

I think I can only manage the Common Tern and a handful of gulls at the moment.

Lovely photos, Kyle. But then as a laridophile I am a bit biased towards all Lari members, they are such wonderful (and plentiful) subjects to photograph. :)

DaveABirding said...

Great shots of the Terns! Always nice to visit and see your work.

The Early Birder said...

Nice captures Kyle. The Royals remind me of the vast no's I saw some years ago at Bolivar Flats - It was a fantastic view. Cheers Frank.