Terns

adult with fish

Over the last couple of years I have really come to appreciate seabirds. I grew up on a coastal reserve filled with gulls, terns and a big view of the English Channel. And yet it took me a trip across the country to work on the Islands of Skomer and Skokholm to work out I love these birds. So returning home to Sussex this year I was really glad there were some late breeding Common Terns hanging around.
ringed adult

In the photo above you can even make out a BTO ring on the leg of the bird. This just adds to the interest and reminds me how much I need to sort out a ringing license!  And the photo below shows one of the remaining young birds.  This one is a bit late in the season and about to fledge, but there are other chicks around which are much fluffier still and will be lucky to survive that long.

juvenile

adult tern

tern and chick

 

The adults often sit away from the nest/ chicks when they are not incubating them.  So trying to work out how many chicks there are and who belongs to who is often tricky….  it does help to confuse the predators as much as me though which is nice.

 

adult feeding chick

 

This last picture is an interesting one for me.  On the plus side it shows how well camouflaged the chick below the adult is.  It also shows the amazing length of the wings and agility of the adult.  But the long wings make the small bird look a bit “squished” with a body much shorter than it should be.  So for my interest in the bird itself it shows amazing anatomy and behaviour, but I’m still not sure I like it simply because of the aesthetics.  What do you think?

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