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Arctic terns

Discussion in 'Birds' started by alanhill, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. These photos were taken at Beadnell Bay, Northumberland where the Long Nanny Burn reaches the North Sea. There is a breeding colony of Arctic terns and a large roost on the beach. You see them first in a 'dread' when all the birds fly up from the roost, I think in this case they were disturbed by a kestrel.

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/9.0    1/1000s    ISO 400

    I tried to photograph the birds returning from fishing trips, but they were flying in so fast and low that they were very difficult to shoot.

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/5.6    1/1000s    ISO 200

    A smaller group of birds were resting beside the burn and bathing in the fresh water.

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 200

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/9.0    1/500s    ISO 200

    These are the birds that will attack people if they venture too close to their nests, so they are reasonably tame - but groups are still skittish and I saw another 'dread' from close range.

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/10.0    1/400s    ISO 200

    Incidentally there was a little tern in this group (lower right in the photo). When the birds returned I was able to get some flight shots against a beautiful blue patch of sky.

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/6.3    1/1000s    ISO 200

    NIKON D300    ---    420mm    f/6.3    1/1000s    ISO 200

    D300 with 300mm f/4 & TC1.4

  2. Great shots Alan. I really like the two last shots.
  3. TimK


    Apr 17, 2006
    Hong Kong, China
    Nice captures, Alan!

    I have always wanted to shot terns in flight, but they are not easy to find here in Hong Kong.
  4. Thank you for the kind comments. I was lucky to have decent conditions for these shots, a strong wind and bright light (between the clouds). Terns are very cool subjects, but I got a lot of shots where the eye got lost against the dark cap. You need light in the right direction to get a catchlight or some reflection (and a little bit of dodging to show it clearly).

  5. nice shots!! I will bet that was a treat to watch.
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