Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 84 - Fairy Tern

I was back out on Mud Islands on the weekend - and one of the highlights of the trip was a flock of around 20 to 25 Fairy Terns.  These are rather small terns which I have never managed to get any decent images of in the past.

The Fairy Tern may have been called this because of its very pale wings that almost seem to let the light through them - this does give them a very delicate look.

These birds are only about 21-24 cm long, and like most terns they do seem to have long wings.

Getting these shots (which have been cropped a bit) was not made easy by the presence of two Pacific Gulls on the beach that seemed to delight in flushing the terns just as I was getting close to them.  All in all these tern were a bit nervous.

I was pretty pleased with the in flight shots - and I think they were made a little easier by the presence of a grey sky.  I am not sure how the exposure would have gone if there have been a bright blue sky.




Parts of the beach where the terns were landing was coated in shells.  When the birds landed they were surprisingly hard to see.





Now it's over to you:  click on the link below and off you go.

53 comments:

The Artful Diva said...

great shots - you captured the birds beautifully!

NatureFootstep said...

it is a beautiful tern. Seems to be similar to what we call Little Tern. But not quite. As you say terns are generally hadt to get good shots of. They are so fast in their flight. You got some great ones. :)

TexWisGirl said...

i first read your title as 'fairy wren', then when scrolling further i didn't see any of the pert little things. went back and read CORRECTLY this time. :) beautiful TERNS, stewart.

Chris Rohrer said...

Very similar to our Least Tern, but I like the name Fairy Tern better:) Very nice!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Beautiful shots in flight! I have not heard of fairy terns but have heard of the fairy wrens.
That is a lot of shells on the beach.

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful birds and wonderful captures as always, Stewart! I didn't know about this bird so it's a particularly interesting post for me! Thank you for sharing!!

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I like the shot with two in it for there is a slight variation in the sky which adds to it. They are all well done for in-flight shots are a challenge.

Jo said...

Amazing shots of these pretty Fairy Terns. I have to split my South African bird post in two and will post about Whiskered Terns (lifers for us) which we saw on the Cape Coast last month. Greetings Jo

Heather Wilde said...

Beautiful little terns and a gorgeous name for them too. Here on behalf of Findlay and linking him up as instructed. He is in Wales with no internet until Friday, so he apologises for not posting on anyone's blogs this week.

Karen said...

I thought your title was Fairy Wren as well. LOL Really excellent flight captures, I always get a blur! Gosh, they sure blend into the shell covered shore don't they!

Andrea said...

What a beautiful Tern ... all terns have a delicate look to them, and streamlined or aerodynamic :) We have black terns here which are endangered and the State Forest Service is working hard to protect their nests in the spring from , of all things, the Great Horned Owls. There's that wicked side of nature showing up again. I love these pictues and they show so well how nature has built in the appropriate camouflage for thier habitat. Love this one, Stewart ...

R. Mac Wheeler said...

Great pictures. Enjoyed the explanation. My Olympus P&S focuses so slowly I can never catch a bird in flight. I have a new camera on my birthday wish-list. :)

Indrani said...

Such fine captures of birds in flight. A beautiful sight of freedom.

Nancy said...

Love their upturned tail feathers! Thanks for hosting Stewart.

cobie en bas van Es said...

geweldig mooi,hier stond te veel wind maar dit is geweldig.

mick said...

Great photos of the Fairy Terns - that's another one I don't see up this way.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your terns are sweet and I love the name.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Wow - an amazing group of photos - love that bird - and the name.

Carole M. said...

you got some great shots of the terns Stewart, they move so fast in the air, I find them hard to track!

Adam Jones said...

What a superb Tern. Great shots.

Jen said...

They do look very similar to our least terns. The aerial shots are amazing.

Montanagirl said...

Very pretty birds. You took some nice flight shots!

eileeninmd said...

Stewart, cute shots of your Fairy Terns. The Terns are one of my favorite birds, I love to watch them fish and in flight. Thanks for hosting, have a happy week!

Gordon said...

Great shots Stewart, they remind me of our Little Tern, would you agree?
All the best Gordon.

Brian King said...

Fantastic flight shots, Stewart! I've heard of Fairy Wrens, but not Fairy Terns.

Wally Jones said...

Stewart, these are really good photographs of a very difficult bird to capture! Nice work!

This small tern is really good looking! As you said, it's amazing how such a seemingly bright white bird can disappear once it's on the beach.

Hope your week is a good one!

Cheers from Florida - Wally

edenhills said...

Wonderful shots! I do think that white sky makes for some dramatic shots.

June Caedmon said...

Found you through Nancy's blog (A Rural Journal), Stewart, and am glad I did. I love birds - I currently do not have a camera that will shoot them well, but I enjoy looking and learning from those that do. Your shots of these terns are fantastic - I'll be back!

pattisjarrett said...

They really do blend in with the shells on the beach. Great shots, the sky was quite cooperative to provide the perfect backdrop.

CountryMouse said...

Wow great photos and you should be happy with the in flight, they are fabulous, I have yet to master in flight. The Fairy Tern blends in very well with the shells.

Beyond the Dog Dish said...

Your photos are great - I only saw my first tern this summer and only managed a few shots. They dive for fish with rapid speed!

dancingaspensfarm said...

That is so very neat! Love the way they blend right in!

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stewart Fantastic shots and they certainly are well camouflaged on the beach.

Kleine Waldameise said...

Gut getarnt hat sich die kleine Möwe. Zwischen den vielen Muscheln kann man sie fast nicht erkennen.

Schönen Aufnahmen. Freundliche Grüße, Waldameise

Kerri Farley said...

WOW! He really blends in with those shells! Super flight shots too!!

Stuart Price said...

Great looking tern.........although it seems very similar to a Little Tern.

Gail Dixon said...

These are terrific flight shots and the fairy tern is a beautiful bird. Thanks for hosting!

Carletta said...

Love the in flight shots!

Breathtaking said...

Very beautiful shots of the Fairy Tern,...especially like the two birds in flight captures. The Terns are certainly well camouflaged on the shell covered beach.

Connie Smiley said...

They have great cammo, don't they? Great shots, Stewart! I love the ones in the air.

Gillian Olson said...

They are very well camouflaged on the beach, great shots.

Small City Scenes said...

Nice shots even with the disruption from the Gulls. It is a beautiful Tern. That beach is really really covered in shell. MB

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant Fairy Tern images Stewart.

thirtysevenandcounting said...

Great camouflage on the shore!

Joining in this week,

~Lindy

Phil Slade said...

Those are very nice images Stewart. As you suggest it is never easy to get shots of fast flying and always whitish terns against the sky. Your pictures show how small a target you had too. Thanks for hosting the gallery once again.

bettyl-NZ said...

I love these guys. I see a few very occasionally on the NZ beaches.

babsjeheron said...

I especially
Ike the second photo Stewart - lovely contract between the beautiful birds and the steely grey skies!

Pat Tillett said...

I can see why you were pleased with the flight shots. The lighting was amazing...

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Great photos! And it's so nice to see warm images.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

How pretty they are, and I am thinking you are right about the gray sky. Blue skies will sometimes ruin a flight image taken for me. I love the one on the beach, WOW they are sure camouflaged well while there. Happy Thursday~

Arija said...

That second shot is a beauty!

damian said...


Good camouflage, best shoots :)

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

I was surprised how well the terns were camouflaged on the shell beach. Yes, a bright blue sky is the enemy of flight shots I have many " if only" photos of eagles that are little more than silhouettes.