Sunday, April 26, 2009


Yesterday was a very low tide and I was able to walk a long way out on the sand banks to where a flock of terns was roosting. I scanned quickly through the flock to see what was there before I started taking photos. There were mainly Crested and Common Terns - and the Crested Terns were most obvious because of the constant noise the juveniles were making. It was only after I started taking photos that I realized that there was one White-winged Black Tern in almost full breeding plumage. These terns are never easy to get close to and its been a couple of seasons since I have seen any in breeding plumage. I didn't get close enough for really detailed photos but sufficient to show the spectacular plumage that these birds get when breeding.
First a photo which I have posted before to show non-breeding plumage.
The White-winged Black Tern is on the right and a Common Tern on the left.
Here the bird fluffed out its wing feathers
A blurry flight shot which nevertheless shows the wing colors.
A Crested Tern going into non-breeding plumage
Common Terns going into breeding plumage
A Caspian Tern

As I walked back I was just in time to see this parachute coming in with tandem jumpers. I don't know where they had come from as I only saw them just before they landed.


  1. Welcome to the obsessives, Mick;-) So absorbed by the terns you don't hear the jumpers' plane taking a turn above.

  2. LOL Tony! I was trying to tune out the human noises all afternoon. Anzac day and practically wall to wall people!

  3. Great to get the WWBT Mick, we saw one like that down here years ago in the late autumn.

  4. I didn't realise there were so many different Terns. At a quick glance the differences between some seem subtle.
    The White-winged Black Tern (what a mouthful of a name) looks quite unusual and very showy.

  5. Terns - wonderful. And some great pics there too Mick :D

  6. Hi Duncan, I didn't know that the White-winged Black Tern went south as far as you. (I've just looked at the books as they say occasionally even Tasmania.)
    Hi John, we actually get 6 different kinds of terns here and you are right - some of the differences are quite subtle unless they stand side by side.
    Thanks Tricia!

  7. A very interesting and informative post! I haven't seen the White-winged Black Tern before, but now if I come across it I will know how they look like in their two completely different costumes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Tilcheff, they are interesting terns and their breeding plumage changes their appearance more than any of the other terns we see up here.