Turn, Turn, Turn

The other day at St Kilda beach, behind the rocks, we saw …

a ternery of Terns
a “U” of Terns
a whisps of Terns
a committee (common) Terns … etc.

I have been noticing a lot of terns lately. It seems that everywhere I (ahem) turn, there they are. They would be within their rights to accuse me of stalking. (Or is it the other way around?)

I’ve always known that the Lawyer’s Head end of St Kilda beach is the habitat for a colony of red-billed gulls, but I haven’t seen terns there before.

As far as I can tell these are Caspian Terns.

Their black caps make them look a bit like Batman. Especially once the black cap fully covers the face – which occurs in the breeding season.

Adults have black legs and a black cap to below the eye during the breeding season. The cap becomes speckled with white and less sharply delineated at other times of the year. Info. from New Zealand Birds Online

At times like these, I wish I had one of those telescopic lenses to fit to my camera.

When the tide is out, this part of the beach is a great spot to watch the swirl of the kelp. Totally mesmerising.

When we were there the tide was beginning to come back in, with waves pushing the streaming, swaying ribbons of kelp back into the rock pools once more.

On a rock above where the terns had gathered, this shag is standing guard like an appointed security guard. (I have only just now noticed how much the rock it’s standing on looks like a giant turtle.)

Another day down at the inlet, I managed to get a couple of shots of tern flying above the water. (Look up towards the top of the photos.)

Another time when I could have done with a telescopic lens.

I have no idea why there are so many terns around at the moment. I guess in the scheme of things as far as the natural world goes, it’s their turn.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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