Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 06 Aug 2017 (Sunday) 11:42
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

The Last Tern: A Little Hope

 
Nighthound
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
11,675 posts
Gallery: 226 photos
Best ofs: 24
Likes: 4515
Joined Aug 2007
Post edited over 1 year ago by Nighthound. (3 edits in all)
     
Aug 06, 2017 11:42 |  #1

Thought I'd share a recent wildlife experience.

For about a month in early summer I monitored and photographed a colony of nesting Least Terns. I estimate that there were about 30 and 40 nesting pair in a fairly small area. The area is protected and posted so I always made sure to stay my distance and lay low so not to disturb or frighten the birds. For the final two weeks I focused my attention on a single pair of Terns that had two eggs in their nest. The female and male would take shifts sitting in the hot sun shading the eggs and keeping them at optimal temperature. The elements, night predators and humans are the biggest threat to the eggs. The tiny speckled eggs blend very well with the nesting grounds and surrounding area so people walking can unknowingly crush the tiny eggs. This is why the area is posted and for the most part its obeyed but the birds will nest outside the protected space so caution is needed when walking about. The nests are simple pockets in the sand and broken shells so they're not obvious nests. I witnessed a lot of interesting behavior and saw my first ghost crab meets Terns moment this year, which was incredible action that I had never seen before.

I was expecting to see a slow drop in the nesting activity and it did start to slow with quite a few fledglings nearby being fed. I was shocked early one morning when I arrived and discovered that every Tern had gone, there wasn't one to be seen anywhere. I walked around outside the protected area to look at the nest I had been watching so faithfully and I was happy to see that both eggs were gone. All the hard work that the nesting pair had invested had paid off, I was really happy but surprised that not a single Tern was around. Then I looked to the left of the nest and saw a tiny chick, face down in the sand and not moving. I stared at it carefully and noticed it was breathing. Then I started to try and make sense of this. My guess was that this chick hatched much later than the other egg, probably several days later. It's possible for eggs to be abandoned if hatching is delayed long enough. Since there were no Terns around I started thinking the worst, this fragile little bird is here all alone and will likely die from exposure, dehydration and/or starvation. I felt terrible for it. All I could do was wait, watch and hope that the parents would return to check the nest one more time. So I waited and photographed the tiny little cotton ball, no bigger than the end of my thumb. I thought to myself that I may be the only living thing that will be witness that this tiny bird ever existed. It was sad and it was inspiring to see this tiny life fighting for survival, struggling so hard to stand. It started by just trying to lift its tail end up, each time pushing a bit harder and just when it was close it would tumble over on its back. This created a new struggle just to get back on its belly. It's tiny eyes weren't open yet at first but gradually they were starting to open, they were getting coated with sand as it rolled around. This went on for two and a half hours. By now my hope for the survival of this tiny bird was fading fast. The chick was on a mission to stand for a fate that wasn't looking good. I decided it deserved a name, silly but the poor thing was hanging on by a thread and refused to quit. I decided its name should be Hope. THEN, in the distance I heard a faint call of a Tern. As it got louder it was clearly a Least Tern. I waited thinking to myself, "please be this bird's mother". Like magic the Tern appeared, hovering over the nesting spot. YES!, she had come back!! She landed and walked over to the chick and in an instant all was right again. I photographed the two of them and then slowly backed away and headed homeward. I thought about that morning on my hike back and figured that the two adult Terns were likely taking care of their first hatched somewhere back in the marsh. I'm constantly struck by the similarities to humans in the wildlife I photograph. Physical appearance may be drastically different but behavior, especially at reproduction time, is much more similar than most would think. The drive to perpetuate a species is powerful, sometimes the process can be disturbing to watch. More often than not it's up lifting and replenishes hope for the health of wildlife on this planet. My time with the Least Terns was a lot of fun, I'll be posting more photos as I get them finished. Here are the images from my morning with The Last Tern, Little Hope.

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …rds/Terneggs.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …stTernChick4.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …stTernChick5.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …stTernChick3.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …stTernChick1.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …ernandChick2.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …TernandChick.jp​g~original (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i3.photobucket.​com …rnandChick3b.jp​g~original (external link)

Steve
Canon Gear: 1D Mark IV | 1D Mark II | 5D | 20D | 500L IS (f/4) | 100-400L
SteveEllwoodPhotograph​y.com (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
nwyman
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
5,630 posts
Gallery: 257 photos
Likes: 901
Joined Mar 2005
Location: Maryland Eastern Shore
     
Aug 06, 2017 14:01 |  #2

had somewhat of a similar experience with Kildeer earlier this summer. The little ones seem so fragile - and unable to fly. I saw them one day as chicks and then not again, although I have seen many adults. Keep hoping they made it.
Thanks for documenting this situation. People are so unaware - I have a reasonably intelligent friend who had no idea that birds of any sort nested on the ground.


EOS 6D, SX50HS, Tamron 150-600
C&C welcome and invited

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
kd_reno
Goldmember
1,175 posts
Gallery: 32 photos
Likes: 713
Joined Oct 2009
Location: Reno, NV
     
Aug 06, 2017 18:37 |  #3

Fantastic series. I didn't know they left the nest so quickly, but I've learned that they find new hiding places soon after hatching. They do like a lot like shorebird chicks.


Ken
More stuff than I know how to use

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Nighthound
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
11,675 posts
Gallery: 226 photos
Best ofs: 24
Likes: 4515
Joined Aug 2007
     
Aug 06, 2017 20:10 |  #4

nwyman wrote in post #18420667 (external link)
had somewhat of a similar experience with Kildeer earlier this summer. The little ones seem so fragile - and unable to fly. I saw them one day as chicks and then not again, although I have seen many adults. Keep hoping they made it.
Thanks for documenting this situation. People are so unaware - I have a reasonably intelligent friend who had no idea that birds of any sort nested on the ground.

Thanks Nancy, I've seen the Killdeer chicks here as well. They get mobil pretty quick.It amazes me how fast these little birds can get to their feet and begin to run within hours. They're extremely vulnerable when they're that small so mobility is literally life saving.


Steve
Canon Gear: 1D Mark IV | 1D Mark II | 5D | 20D | 500L IS (f/4) | 100-400L
SteveEllwoodPhotograph​y.com (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Nighthound
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
11,675 posts
Gallery: 226 photos
Best ofs: 24
Likes: 4515
Joined Aug 2007
Post edited over 1 year ago by Nighthound.
     
Aug 06, 2017 20:15 |  #5

kd_reno wrote in post #18420797 (external link)
Fantastic series. I didn't know they left the nest so quickly, but I've learned that they find new hiding places soon after hatching. They do like a lot like shorebird chicks.

Yes, they do look much like the Oystercatchers and Wilson's Plover chicks that I see here in the spring. It doesn't take them very long to learn how to move quickly. The adults coax them to cover once they can to hide them from predators. A Coopers Hawk flew over the Tern colony one morning and it got a 25 bird escort out of the area. Fortunately that was before any of the eggs had hatched.


Steve
Canon Gear: 1D Mark IV | 1D Mark II | 5D | 20D | 500L IS (f/4) | 100-400L
SteveEllwoodPhotograph​y.com (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
spitfirejd
Goldmember
Avatar
1,496 posts
Likes: 81
Joined Dec 2006
Location: Delaware.
     
Aug 07, 2017 06:13 |  #6

Great story. Thanks for sharing.


Jeff
”Your eye must see a composition or expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone for ever.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
CaptBob
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
5,471 posts
Gallery: 557 photos
Likes: 3646
Joined Jul 2011
Location: Plantation Fl
     
Aug 07, 2017 12:38 |  #7

That's a really great series and it's awesome you got to witness and shoot it. Can't wait to some more


1Dmk4,1DXmk2, 600 F4 L IS mk2,100-400 L IS mk2, 16-35 F4 L IS, 24-105 F4L, canon 1.4xmk3, 2xmk3

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Nighthound
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
11,675 posts
Gallery: 226 photos
Best ofs: 24
Likes: 4515
Joined Aug 2007
     
Aug 12, 2017 10:19 |  #8

spitfirejd wrote in post #18421056 (external link)
Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks very much JD, happy to do it.

CaptBob wrote in post #18421342 (external link)
That's a really great series and it's awesome you got to witness and shoot it. Can't wait to some more

Thank you Bob, didn't think I'd ever see one perched so this was a real treat.


Steve
Canon Gear: 1D Mark IV | 1D Mark II | 5D | 20D | 500L IS (f/4) | 100-400L
SteveEllwoodPhotograph​y.com (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

1,705 views & 14 likes for this thread
The Last Tern: A Little Hope
FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is milashinyz
383 guests, 336 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.