After enjoying the sunrise at Marineland Beach last weekend, I headed over to the tern colony to check for chicks. But all the fish that came in seemed to be courtship offerings, with no chicks in sight!
It was great to see Michael and Ursula as we sat in the hot sand and watched the birds. This year the most activity was on the far side of the colony. We saw lots of birds on nests, and lots of fish being handed off. I think I photographed four piggy-back rides!
This guy was very active at defending his territory. A second bird kept flying to to offer fish to his mate. That didn’t go over so well!
There was a large chick running around in the back of the colony. He didn’t seem to belong to any of the adults. Everywhere he ran, he got chased off by other birds who were defending their nests. Poor little guy. It’s not easy being lost on a big beach!
A pair of juvenile Wilson’s Plovers ran by my lens. They were big enough that they almost looked like adults, but their feathers were a little blotchy and they still had white fluff on their heads.
The beach was covered in picturesque sea grasses and flowers. This bird decided to pose for a portrait.
There was a little too much background in this next shot, so I took it into Topaz Glow and Color Efex and came up with this:
I’m not sure how the birds did after Tropical Storm Colin moved across the state. I know a lot of the colonies on the west coast of Florida did not fare well. I hope the terns did better. I’m looking forward to returning and finding the results of these piggy-back rides!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Matanzas Tern Colony?
Check out my Matanzas Tern Colony page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
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