Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 178 - White Terns

These remarkable birds were some of the first that I photographed on Lord Howe.  I would be reasonable to say that I got very excited when I first saw them!

Although you may not be able to tell from the pictures, these birds can actually fly and do not spend all of their time sat on branches looking photogenic! I was pointed in the direction of some birds which were nesting on some low branches and got absolutely wonderful views of them.

What makes these pictures all the more remarkable is the the set of pictures showing the bird on the large pale branch, show the bird sitting on an egg!  There is not nest at all, just maybe a slight depression in the branch under the bird - and that's it! They lay the egg on the branch, incubate the egg on the branch and raise the chick on the branch!  I tried to out-wait this bird to get some evidence of the egg, but its patience was better then mine.  Maybe next time!

The White Tern is also called Gygis alba which means "mystery white bird" - although why this bird is a called a mystery bird, is a mystery in itself!  The white bit makes perfect sense, although I am surprised the the colour of the beak did not get some kind of mention.

Like other terns this bird is a wonderfully fast and agile flyer, and I managed to get not a single decent image of them in flight - as I said above 'maybe next time'.







Sitting on its egg

Sitting on its egg

Sitting on its egg

The eyes of these birds are not as huge as they look - there is a ring of dark feathers around the eye that makes it look larger than it really is.

I saved these images for this week, as I thought that there was something just a little Christmassy about these wonderful birds!

Hope you all have had a good year, and that WBW played a small part in that goodness.  WBW will be back next week for the last time in 2015.  So, click the blue button and off you go!



31 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

They don't build nests? And they lay their eggs in such precarious places? Amazing! Merry Christmas, Stewart!

Chris Rohrer said...

These are beautiful birds. No feral pets I hope in these

Findlay Wilde said...

What a stunning bird. I hope you and your family have a brilliant Christmas.

Silver Parrot said...

Beautiful bird! Love the touch of blue on the beak!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, they are gorgeous birds. It is an interesting place where they lay their eggs, great series of photos. Thanks for hosting. Have a very Merry Christmas!

NatureFootstep said...

This must be the same White tern I saw in Honolulu. I never saw them up close, only airborne. And, they were quick! I probably too more then 100 shots in three mornigns and only got a few worth sharing. But, it is fun trying :)

Thanks for hosting :) And I wish you a merry christmas :)

Missy George said...

Gorgeous birds Stuart! Very Christmasy. Wonderful series. Thanks for sharing Merry Christmas

Sylvia K said...

Oh, beautiful birds they are indeed, Stewart!! And I do love your captures!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Hope you and your family have a great holiday week!! Enjoy!!

Brian King said...

Gorgeous birds and very nice shots! Great bokeh, too, in a couple of those photos.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

What gorgeous little creatures. Sweet

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Long before i ever took up photography I saw this same species (called "Fairy Tern") in Hawaii. There is an air of mystery about them. They seem so delicate yet resilient. Several were sitting on eggs in the same tree. It was truly amazing. I never saw the eggs, either. Splendid photos!

TexWisGirl said...

what beauties with extremely minimalistic nesting habits!

Neil said...

Beautiful post Merry Christmas.

TheChieftess said...

Love the blue beak!!! Merry Christmas Stewart!!!

Gunilla Bäck said...

A gorgeous bird! I love the blue beak. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Linda W. said...

Cool looking birds! Love that blue beak. Wonderful photos!

Marie C said...

They are stunning...delicate and pure as snow! Just beautiful! Laying their eggs on the branch itself is really something! I've never heard of that before. Beautiful photos! Merry Christmas, Stewart! God bless you and your family!

Arija said...

Your trip was certainly very worthwhile. Great captures of these ghostly birds.
Have a happy Christmas, hope the cat does not demolish the tree.

Lee said...

I'm having quite a turn here...white terns - how beautiful! :)

Jo said...

Hi Stewart, the beak's color, length and sharpness is amazing. And the bird is startlingly white. Great images for the season! May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Greetings Jo

Lea said...

Merry Christmas!
And a very Happy New Year to you and your family
Happy Bird-watching!
Lea

Marilyn Kircus said...

What ethereal birds! I'll be looking forward to seeing them in flight and feeding their chicks. You may have a retirement goal here.

photodoug said...

Stewart, great bird for the Christmas season. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks for sharing.

Frank said...

Splendid pics of this interesting species.

Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Christmas.

Linda said...

Beautiful white birds! How do they keep the eggs from falling? And the hatchlings?

Montanagirl said...

Absolutely gorgeous - Thank you for sharing these!!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Fantastic bird.. Great series of pics. .Happy holidays…

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A stunning bird, but my goodness that seems rather cavalier parenting behavior ;))! Happy New Year to all at your house. And thank you for all you do!

Wally Jones said...

Absolutely wonderful photographs of a very special bird, Stewart! I'm with you, that bill is something! You did a great job taming the contrast on these.

Our Christmas was good and we wish you and your family a prosperous and peaceful New Year!

ladyfi said...

Fabulous shots - those birds are gorgeous!

David Gascoigne said...

Memories of this visit to paradise are going to be etched into your brain forever. What a fabulous bird!