1 EAGLETON NOTES: Feeding The Bairns

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Feeding The Bairns

One of the things I learned from evidence led in a planning inquiry I was involved in many many moons ago was that the common tern is a highly adaptable bird: disturb its nesting colony and it will just move somewhere else and establish another one. I've lived in Eagleton for 23 years and the terns have rarely flown over my house on the way from the feeding grounds to the nesting site. This year they have been flying non-stop for several months over the house. 

Terns fly very quickly and with a flight that is either extremely graceful (with the wind and with nothing in their beak) or extremely jerkily (against the wind and with a fish in their beak for the young).  Either way they are a difficult bird to photograph when they are in flight. Anyway in between the rain I've managed a few shots:












The distance between the possible breeding sites and the feeding grounds is between one and one and a half miles:


I have no idea how many flights a day each tern flies but several months from 0400 'till 2100 one is talking of a great many miles.

28 comments:

  1. Pretty amazing photos Graham

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  2. Shots to be proud of.
    Next the swallow.

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    1. Thanks Adrian. A swallow? I think that's setting the bar a wee bit too high for my abilities.

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  3. Lots of great shots from many different angles. Those birds don't have a less favoured side, do they? The muted sky makes a lovely backdrop.

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    1. Thanks Pauline. I think they are one of the most beautiful of all the seabirds.

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  4. You managed a few incredible shots....good job.

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  5. Wow! You nailed these shots. You have a great variety.

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  6. These are fantastic, Graham!! It almost looks as if the birds were posing in mid-air for you, that's how clear they are.

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    1. Meike the birds pass over me so frequently but they are really hard to photograph because the flit around so much. I took a lot and was fortunate that a few have been good enough to post.

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  7. Amazing wing shape variety! Such a short sharp arrow on each side. Lovely shots!

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    1. Kate their wings do amazing things. I suppose most birds do but I have observed terns more than many others.

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  8. Fabulous graceful birds. I am starting to realise how closely you observe them.

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    1. Jenny I've had several months of them flying right past my kitchen window every day come rain come shine. Standing outside waiting for them to take the right path for a photograph took a bit more patience though.

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  9. Fascinating photos Graham - so many different and elegant shapes. Terns in flight, riding on the wind, literally as free as birds, may look down with pity on we landlubbers, trapped in our houses, huddling by our fires, buying our food from shops. Life is very different for a tern.

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    1. It's different, YP, and there are no traffic wardens but there are lots of Skuas and they must fly quite a few thousand miles just feeing their young. Fortunately this year the sprats in the bay have been plentiful.

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  10. As they say, one good tern deserves another. Excellent terns.

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    1. Oh dear Marcel. And you've missed them (so far).

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  11. It needs to be appreciated that they not only twist and tern (sorry - not) in flight but they are a lot faster than the gulls which they loosely resemble. So very well done GB.

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    1. Thank you CJ. They certainly are very 'fidgety' flyers.

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  12. Beautiful pictures, Mr. Edwards. It must be very stressful for that parent to go a long distance and carry back a fish without dropping it in hopes that she and the fish arrive in time to feed the starving babies. May I have permission to print one of the pictures for my own use?

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    1. Thank you Mrs Thyme. Of course you can print any that you like. If you need a better resolution copy please email me and I'll send you one.

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  13. These are fantastic birds to see, I don't see many on the Taranaki shores.

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    1. Bettyl one of the things that struck me about NZ when I first went there in 2005 was the lack of different gulls and similar species which is odd given that they are great travellers. Mind you I have seen albatrosses off Stewart Island. One of the first posts of yours that I remember was the Chess Fence in Norsewood. It has always stuck in my mind because I had been there and photographed it around the same time: one of many visits because I passed through many many times over the years. Silly fact: I'm wearing a gilet (vest in NZ) that I bought in Norsewood some years ago when the gang of us stopped for lunch on the way to a croquet tournament. Just looking at your blog makes me homesick.

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