Arctic Tern, Portrait - Sterna paradisaea by David Lewins

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Arctic Tern, Portrait - Sterna paradisaea by 

With its long tail streamers and general shape the Arctic tern deserves the local name of ‘sea swallow’. Appearing white with a black cap, it is largely coastal although it can be seen inland on migration. It depends on a healthy marine environment and some colonies have been affected by fish shortages. Arctic terns are the ultimate long distance migrants – summer visitors to the UK and winter visitors to the Antarctic.

Generally breeds along the coastline in open areas with sand or shingle, or on moorland/coastal heath. They are extremely vulnerable to predation, especially by ground predators, and in some areas are forced to nest on small islands which are free from mammals such as rats and mink. In Shetland some extensive colonies are inland on heath, rough pasture, sedge grassland or islets in lochs.

Spends the winter entirely at sea, resting on floating objects and reaching south to the Antarctic pack ice.

EOS 20D Sigma 50-500mm @ 200mm

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ocean, sea, bird, coastal, migrant, gull, arctic, tern

Professional Travel Photographer and Teacher of Photography living in County Durham, North East UK.

David Lewins Photography

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  • peterellison
    peterellisonover 4 years ago

    Great detail and a wonderful combination of colours add up to a striking image!
    The added information is very interesting to read.

  • Thank you very much for your kind comment Peter, always appreciated.

    – David Lewins

  • Denis Molodkin
    Denis Molodkinover 4 years ago

    Great catch!

  • Thank you Denis, appreciated your comment

    – David Lewins

  • Phoxford
    Phoxfordover 4 years ago

    Nice portrait David. Getting that close for a 200mm shot must have taken some patience!

  • Thank you David, I was lying down on the walkways around the nesting area of the birds, this one perched itself on a post and began calling at me. I got some real good images from that low angle.

    – David Lewins

  • Aggpup
    Aggpupover 4 years ago

    Great work again David, You have a lot more patience than I’ll ever have

  • When you’re stuck on an island with only nesting birds to photograph patience doesn’t come in to it! ;-) Thanks for the comment David.

    – David Lewins

  • Grandalf
    Grandalfover 4 years ago

    Terrific detail and focus David, a stunning well timed shot, am guessing this was on the Farnes, a lovely image of this beautiful tern. Dave

  • Thank you very much for your kind words Dave, you are correct, it was taken at the Farne Islands, a wonderful place to get images such as this, as I see you have found out! ;-)

    – David Lewins

  • Akkra
    Akkraover 4 years ago

    Another wow! Fabulous capture and the colours are lovely and bold, great contrast!

  • Thanks very much for the WOW, ;-) Pleased you like it.

    – David Lewins

  • JohnPeel
    JohnPeelover 4 years ago

    Another beautiful portrait, David, with wonderful backgound on this extraordinary bird. (And, please, keep the 500mm lens out for a little longer…)

  • Thanks very much for your kind comment John, always appreciated.

    – David Lewins

  • WatscapePhoto
    WatscapePhotoover 4 years ago

    Noisy blighters too. Beautifully detailed portrait of this great traveller. Excellent work, David!

  • I have to agree Steven, but your ears get used to the noise after a while. Thanks for the kind words, appreciated as always.

    – David Lewins

  • PaulaMoss
    PaulaMossover 4 years ago

    David this is a stunning shot. Great great clarity. I love it.
    Yes they are a sign summer is here when you hear that cry. Its music to our ears.

  • Thanks very much for the kind words Paula, they are beautiful birds I just don’t care for them diving at my head! LOL

    – David Lewins

  • Martin Smart
    Martin Smartover 4 years ago

    Wow, awesome portrait of this Arctic Tern David, excellent timing and great focus on the eye!!

  • Thanks very much for you kind words of support Martin, this one is going to become one of my own favorites I think.

    – David Lewins

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