Sunday, September 21, 2014

FORSTER'S TERN

EOS Canon 50D with 150 - 500mm Sigma Telephoto IS lens


I pulled over to talk to the occupants of a fishing boat and as an added thought to end the conversation I asked them if they saw any bald eagles up the shoreline.  The replied that they only saw a big ole hawk in a tree, second cove up.  I thanked them and was on my way.
I knew that the guy saw a juvenile bald eagle as his directions lead me directly to the tree where one of the point 18 juveniles perches during the mornings..  The young eagle was airborne riding the thermals when I got there.  I didn't even attempt to push the shutter button on him more than once.
 Every now and again an odd bird will make its debut on the lakes here in East Tennessee from points far away.  I noticed a bird standing on a half submerged limb out in the middle of the lake.  The wind was heavy and the water very rough and wavy with white caps.  There he stood alone all pretty and mysterious - a new one for me. Professional birders may see this bird often and know its name off by heart but I've not seen one on any of these big lakes.  I did notice a tern last month that I posted on the blog that turned out to be a black tern.  He was also a first for me.  Now this guy.  I looked him up in my field guide and he is a Forster's Tern.


These Forster's Terns like marshlands instead of big water (ocean) shorelines.  This is the only tern that prefers this type of habitat.  Of course this little bird is on a lake for some reason.
This little guy is sporting winter plumage.  Summer will find him with a black cap covering his head.

He breeds along the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to Texas and from Alberta and California east to the great lakes and he winters from Virginia and southward.  This little fellow is an exclusive North American Tern and, again,  the only tern that resides and prefers marshes.  
 Why these birds often show up without companions is a mystery, but they continuously do.  I've seen pelicans and even an Arctic Skua on these waters here in East Tennessee when they should be hundreds and in the case of the Arctic Skua, thousands of miles away. 

 He looked so tiny and alone way out there in the middle of the lake on his half submerged stick.  I guess he knew what he was doing.  Then, if he did - why was he out here?
I saw this osprey on the return run back to the boat ramp and I decided to see if he would sit for a portrait.  They usually fly off when I approach in this monster white boat but he stayed and stared me down.


 Look at that intense stare!  Wow!  Wonder what he actually sees.
This entry is a short one but I felt good about putting it up there.  The photos pleased me and I think the content was unique, especially the tern.  See ya later and thanks for being there.