Tag Archives: Forster’s Tern

Bonaparte’s Gull vs Forster’s Tern

The Bonaparte’s Gull and Forster’s Tern look a lot alike and I always have to check a reference when I see either. I happened to capture one of each in similar poses during my recent beach visit.

Bonaparte’s Gull Feeding
Bonaparte’s Gull Feeding

The gull is slightly larger, but when you see them zooming along above the ocean waves that is hard to tell.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Forster’s Tern

After watching the relatively sedate Bonaparte’s Gulls Feeding at the beach a Forster’s Tern came along and showed off some different flying skills.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

It was all about speed.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Hover, dive and repeat.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

With the rolling waves and lack of contrast I didn’t get a full splash down image.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Yes, they are fast!

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

In between stronger gusts of wind the tern hovered higher over the water as he looked for food.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Forster’s Tern

I’ve watched several Forster’s Terns the last few times I’ve been to the rice field impoundment. They are incredibly acrobatic in flight, twisting and turning, then swooping down to the water to go after small fish.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

They are quite striking birds, even in non-breeding plumage. When they’ve make the turn and loop back for another run at the pond is the best opportunity to photograph them.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

And did I mention they are fast? This is the best I got this day for a dive.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

If they pick up a small fish with their feet they quickly pass it to their mouth and down the hatch it goes.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern