Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Least Tern Fishing

Silver Sands State Park was extra busy today, with people all over the beach enjoying the holiday. There were plenty of animals out and about, too, and I got totally distracted for a while, watching a dainty little Least Tern fishing in the shallow water right against the beach:

This is the first time I've seen Least Terns in Connecticut and known what to call them -- I learned to identify Least Terns only this past May, during our trip to Florida. (Incidentally, the Least Tern is listed as a threatened species in Connecticut.) This particular Least Tern was completely engaged in its fishing activities, and so I was able to get quite close to it to watch the proceedings. It would hover in the air for a few seconds, scoping out the water below. And then, when it had a target in sight...

Bombs away!

(Note the holiday-goers in the background -- they didn't mind the tern, and the tern didn't mind them! Also note the sudden decrease in picture quality when the bird's doing something as interesting as diving.... My action-shot skills still have a lot of room for improvement!)

Sometimes the tern would resurface from the waves with a small fish in its beak:

And within a few seconds, the fish would be good and swallowed (yum), and then a quick shake-off and it's back to hovering again, preparing for the next dive. I could have watched (and tried to photograph) this active little bird for much longer, but I had left Paul dozing in the sun on the beach, and it was time to wake him up and go get lunch. Aren't holidays fun?


  1. Such beautiful photos! Nothing wrong with your photographic skills.

    1. Thanks for your support, Jackie! I know what I wanted the diving pictures to look like, and I didn't quite feel like I did the tern justice.... Maybe someday, though!

  2. Are you kidding! :-) Your photos are absolutely wonderful! Wish I'd had you with me in England - you would have captured the skylarks, we saw hovering over the fields then diving to hover again! The swifts and the swallows would be more than a memory for me. The rooks would have cavorted all over! Your bird photos (and bugs and butterflies and ... ) are always amazing ... ok I do know what you mean about 'what I wanted was ... ' - but really ... terrific! I agree with OSDC - the third one is great ... and you even captured the water droplets on the last one. Really!!! They are fantastic! :-)