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 @ 135mm