Plimmerton Terns

white-fronted tern in flight

I had reason to be out of the house for a few hours yesterday and knew a large flock of white-fronted terns were at Plimmerton beach, so picked up another photographer friend and off we went. Sitting in the car looking to the beach we really couldn’t see more than a few terns. When we got out of the car and walked to the beach the scene changed dramatically! There were literally hundreds of them.

White-fronted terns in flight

I was kicking myself for not putting my comfy camp chair in the car, but there was a concrete wall I could sit on. The birds weren’t that far away so it was easy to sit and watch them doing their preening etc. They would take turns (pardon the pun) to go feed, and then return creating chaos when they landed in the wrong place. Having heard that there might be a few very special little terns among the flock, I kept my eyes peeled for anything different.

White-fronted terns
White-fronted terns.
White-fronted tern

A few smaller terns stood out with their orange legs and feet, and lack of black on their heads, so I knew right away that these were different from the rest of the flock. I am told they are black-fronted terns. We found three of them in total. Two were together most of the time and the third was a little more standoffish.

White-winged black terns in flight
Black-fronted terns in flight.
White-winged black tern
Black-fronted terns

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