Thursday, March 08, 2007

Caspian Tern

As I mentioned in my article on the Whimbrel, I had the opportunity to photograph both Crested and Caspian Terns at the Marion Bay Spit. So here are a few of the images I shot there of one of my favourites, the Caspian Tern. This adult 'Caspian' (I only saw the one adult with this youngster), was very protective of its' sole progeny. It saw off an adult Kelp Gull that wandered a little too close for its' liking, then put on a threat display, with wings held high, as other gulls flew over. Finally it flew, calling noisily (top left shot), and for a while I wondered what was the object of this display. The penny finally dropped.... it was me! I had crossed that imaginary boundary, and had ventured just too close.
The Caspian Tern is mainly a Summer visitor to Tasmania and breeds mostly on offshore islands. It's quite likely that this bird had bred on nearby Visscher Island. It's the World's largest tern, and some idea of size may be gained from the shot of it with a Silver Gull. It has a similar wingspan to the Pacific and Kelp Gulls. It's found quite widely around the World, and I have also seen it in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
If you wish to more fully enjoy these magnificent birds, (other than going and looking for yourself), I suggest you click on the shots to enlarge them.I hope in some small way, you can see why they're one of my favourites.


Duncan said...

Caspian Terns? can't stand'em, spent all afternoon on the river bank fishing without a bite, then along came a Caspian Tern, dived right in front of us and flew off with a beautiful big mullet. ;-)

BirdingTas said...

Hi Duncan,
I trust you're not looking for sympathy!!!