Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Arctic terns

The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) is one of the wonders of nature. This petite bird flies a round trip of about 71 thousand kilometres each year, between Antarctica and its breeding grounds in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. This is the longest annual migration of any animal.

These photos were taken with my new camera. They were shot just before noon when the sun was high in the sky and the light harsh, so they are not of the best quality lighting-wise, but they prove that for some birds at least you don't need an ultra-long zoom lens, but just a fast medium zoom. The terns are aggressive when defending their nesting territory and will come very close. I have had one land on my head and give me a quick peck before flying off again. My grandfather, who loved to eat tern eggs, once came home from an egg-collecting expedition covered in blood after a direct hit.

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