Beyond the BackyardMatanzas Tern Colony

My Turn with the Terns!

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!

A Fishy Offering
A Fishy Offering

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!

Strutting his Stuff
Strutting his Stuff

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!

You wandered into the wrong territory, little guy
You wandered into the wrong territory, little guy

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!

Juvenile Wilson's Plover
Juvenile Wilson’s Plover

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.

Least Tern in his Habitat
Least Tern in his Habitat

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:

Baby Terns on the Way!
Baby Terns on the Way!

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!

3 thoughts on “My Turn with the Terns!

  1. Love the image of the adult strutting his stuff. Great capture! The artistic mating image is fantastic as well. You did a great job with that one.

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