Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 122 - Whiskered Terns

Terns are great birds to watch.  Delicate, fast moving and often unpredictable in flight.  This of course makes them rather challenging to photograph on the wing!

Last weekend I noticed this Whiskered tern being a little more predictable in flight than normal - so I set up to try and get some inflight images.  The bird was hunting back and forth over an area of surface weed in Swan Bay, near Queenscliff where we were staying for the weekend.

It was still very hard to keep the bird in frame and in focus, and the ability to take a large number of shots with the punitive costs of the past was a real joy. (If you never shot slide film, this may not mean much to you - but trust me, it was expensive!)

Although I still have a long way to go in this area, I was pleased with a few on the shots - and have learnt enough to hope that the next batch in similar circumstances will have a higher hit rate!

The Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) is a summer breeding visitor to southern Australia, so it was a marker of the changing seasons that I was able to find this bird.  The scientific name is some form of grammatical statement about the gender of the genus name - if you could explain this to me, that would be great, as such things are beyond me!







One of the things I like about these pictures is the way that the light is reflected up from the water onto the underside of the birds.  It gives a remarkable pattern.  I could see it in the field through binoculars, but I was surprised how clear it is in the pictures.  As ever, these picture look much better larger.

And now, equally as ever, its over to you:  click on the blue button and off you go.

40 comments:

  1. The tern in the first shot is elegance and grace in motion. Love those wings.

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  2. Beautiful action shots Stewart!! I love Terns.

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  3. Wait! Where are the whiskers? :-)

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  4. You have outdone yourself this time, Stewart. This is a beautiful bird, but your pictures are way beyond beautiful ... especially the last one. I just have one question ... where are the whiskers? Is this another inappropriately named bird?
    Do you think early Ornithologists drank a lot? Just thinking outloud, sorry. Love this set ... these are hang on the wall quality.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  5. these are great shots, stewart! love that last one.

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  6. Great shots - and I like the name whiskered terns.

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  7. Nice bird in flight photos - I really like that last one.

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  8. Oh, yes! I love the name whiskered terns, too!! These are really beautiful captures for the day, Stewart! Hope your week is going well!!

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  9. You got some great ones there Stewart. Once a year the Whiskered Terns in Menorca give me the runaround. Like you say difficult to follow and focus all a the same time with such erratic flight patterns.

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  10. What a great name. And great flight shots as well! I remember the good old film days.

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  11. I love that last shot. What a stunning Tern. Not one I've seen and it would be a rarity if I did.

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  12. Beautiful flight shots. I haven't had much luck with flight shots.

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  13. Great shots

    You're right about the reflections on the second and third photos

    Birds rock

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  14. When I saw the Latin name for the Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybridus it made me wonder from what it was a hybrid. It was so named because of its similarities between Black terns and White terns (Sterna). There are three geographical races of this bird and you bird is obviously the Australasian Whiskered tern. I think you have done very well to photograph these birds in flight and my favourite is the last one. Stunning.

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  15. Great in-flight photos. The light is beautiful and I find a constant challenge to capture the way i really see it.

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  16. Yes, the photos are especially nice when enlarged. We have Least Terns here and they are also very rapid and erratic flyers. As you have found, many of my photos give partial views or open sky. I especially like the action portrayed by the last photo.

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  17. Great shots Stewart. We had one of these turn up locally a couple of years ago but not in such good weather as this!

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  18. A difficult species to capture in flight. Well done Stewart.

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  19. Stunning photos and an elegant bird.

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  20. Great flight shots, Stewart! I love the last photo! That's just too cool!

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  21. Nice shots- love that last one- super!

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  22. The flight shots (and/or skimming shots) are just amazing ... beautiful birds, beautiful photos.

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  23. Beautiful shots of the birds in flight! They look so graceful!

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  24. I am glad you took your time to set up to photograph the Tern. Love the 1st shot. MB

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  25. A great sequence from the approach into the water. Respect, a great documentation !
    Greetings from germany

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  26. Those were great shots! I've never been good at getting birds in flight...you've got the skills!

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  27. Lovely shots! Thanks for hosting, Stewart.

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  28. Hi Stewart,
    Beautiful flight shots.
    I love Terns.
    Best regards, Irma

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  29. Wonderful "in-flight" shots. That last one is especially cool looking.

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  30. Fabulous Tern shots, I especially like the last one, head down, ready for lunch! You're getting pretty good at this! ;)

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  31. Wonderful shots in action! In flight shots are tough. Looks great!

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  32. Fantastic shots of a beautiful bird. Love that last one!

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  33. I'm so happy to be linked with you this week. These are the best photos I've ever taken but the sighting was so rare, that I wanted to share. I hope a few people will know what these are and have some stories to share! Thanks! Diane in Florida

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  34. Those are amazing flight shots, especially the last one.

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  35. Superb action shots, Stewart! The last one is fantastic!

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  36. What a lovely bird you have shared this week. I would imagine that I have seen some species of Tern before when we visited the coastal waters, but I have never had opportunity to see any close. Great share as always~

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  37. I am so BEHIND!!!! Love your tern shots, especially that last one. Beautiful photos of a beautiful bird!

    Thought your comment about the cross bow on my Willy Nilly post (like I said--BEHIND!) was so interesting! Those armoured rich worrying about being killed by the poor! :-)

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