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Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-07-30
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-08-30 6:24
Viewed: 2755
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Another new bird for me on Iceland was the Arctic Tern. There are several colonies. In this time of the year they have a lot of chicks walking around. My next posting wil be an Arctic Tern chick.
This one was not happy with my presence. He was attacking me, so I left him alone soon.

The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. This bird has a circumpolar breeding distribution covering the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America (as far south as Brittany and Massachusetts). The species is strongly migratory, seeing two summers each year as it migrates from its northern breeding grounds along a winding route to the oceans around Antarctica and back, a round trip of about 70,900 km each year. This is by far the longest regular migration by any known animal. The Arctic Tern flies as well as glides through the air, performing almost all of its tasks in the air. It nests once every one to three years (depending on its mating cycle); once it has finished nesting it takes to the sky for another long southern migration.

Arctic Terns are medium-sized birds. They have a length of 33–39 cm and a wingspan of 76–85 cm. They are mainly grey and white plumaged, with a red beak (as long as the head, straight, with pronounced gonys) and feet, white forehead, a black nape and crown (streaked white), and white cheeks. The grey mantle is 305 mm, and the scapulae are fringed brown, some tipped white. The upper wing is grey with a white leading edge, and the collar is completely white, as is the rump. The deeply forked tail is whitish, with grey outer webs. The hindcrown to the ear-coverts is black.

Arctic Terns are long-lived birds, with many reaching thirty years of age. They eat mainly fish and small marine invertebrates. The species is abundant, with an estimated one million individuals. While the trend in the number of individuals in the species as a whole is not known, exploitation in the past has reduced this bird's numbers in the southern reaches of its range.

Distribution and migration
The Arctic Tern has a worldwide, circumpolar breeding distribution which is continuous; there are no recognized subspecies. It can be found in coastal regions in cooler temperate parts of North America and Eurasia during the northern summer. While wintering during the southern summer, it can be found at sea, reaching the northern edge of the Antarctic ice.
The Arctic Tern is famous for its migration; it flies from its Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back again each year. This 19,000 km journey each way ensures that this bird sees two summers per year and more daylight than any other creature on the planet. One example of this bird's remarkable long-distance flying abilities involves an Arctic Tern ringed as an unfledged chick on the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK, in the northern summer of 1982, which reached Melbourne, Australia, in October 1982, a sea journey of over 22,000 km in just three months from fledging. Another example is that of a chick ringed in Labrador, Canada, on 23 July 1928. It was found in South Africa four months later.

Research using tracking devices attached to the birds was published in January 2010 and showed that the above examples are in fact not unusual for the species; eleven Arctic Terns that bred in Greenland or Iceland each covered 70,900 km on average in a year, with a maximum of 81,600 km. The difference from previous estimates was because the birds were found to take a meandering course to take advantage of prevailing winds. The average Arctic Tern lives about twenty years, and will travel about 2.4 million km.
Arctic Terns usually migrate far offshore. Consequently, they are rarely seen from land outside the breeding season.

Source: Wikipedia

ramthakur, josediogo1958, cobra112, maaciejka, Hotelcalifornia, kinglove, Ishi, marius-secan, anel, AKBAR-ALI-ASIF, Chiza, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Aggressive behaviour from a Tern, Peter? Must be worried about the safely of its chicks.
Very sharp in-flight picture at average shutter speed.
The posture of the bird with its head down is quite interesting.
Thanks for another great image from Iceland.

Hello Peter
Very well captured image of this Arctic Tern in action.
superb sharp with good colour.
WB is so perfect that white is so brilliant.
best wishes,my today neighbour.

hallo Peter
super opname zo in de lucht
goed van scherpte en details
de kleuren zijn weer prachtig
gr lou

Boa tarde Peter
Unusual and beautiful BG for this Tern.Great timing,wonderful colours and excellent sharpness.Thank You.
Have a good weekend!
Best wishes

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-08-30 7:28]

Hi Peter,really difficult and really perfect,a fantastic in flight capture of this White tern,magnificent position,exposure and details,very bright orange particulars too.Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter,
Wonderful catch with a beautiful posture in the sky,perfectly focused and well exposed.

Ciao Peter. Magnificient capture on flyght. Stunning details perfect managment of the backlight.


Hi Peter,
very good capture of this bird in flight. Excellent sharpness. Perfect point of view.
Have a nice weekend,

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely Tern in fantastic fly, perfect focus, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-08-30 12:11]

Hello Peter.
Wonderful capture. Nicely composed. Sharpness and detail are spot on. Nice work. Thanks.
Regards Siggi

Hello Mr.Peter,
Nice to see different type of specie here in your gallery.Yes,it's also new to me.Very well captured.To me capturing flying bird picture is more tough than a stationary animal/insect.
Very well captured keeping its good colour and details.Like it.
Thanks for sharing,
Regards and good night,

Hello Peter
照的清晰 很困難的角度才照的出這超高水準的相片
光線也很優美 姿式特殊真是難得一見

Hi Peter,
I love this pic of a Tern, who seems to be a perfect ballet dancer. Very well-composed and nice POV, excellent details and sharpness. Great work, and TFS.

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-08-31 2:28]

Superb frozen-in-mid-air capture. The green background worked well for you. Waiting to see the promised chick!

Have a pleasant weekend,


  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2013-08-31 8:18]

Very good picture Peter! It look like it is floating on the air! Nice color, light and excellent deep of field with a perfect background. Congratulation.

Hello Peter,
Once again a wonderful image taken from a very good angle and POV. Exceptional details and perfect focus despite that the bird is in flight....Outstanding colors and perfect focus. You managed perfect this composition. Wonderful photo with a lovely specie.
Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-08-31 11:48]

Hello Peter,
Fine composition, subtle colours to show the flight of this elegant bird. Ideal blurred background as contrast to the white plumage of the Arctic Tern. Beautiful picture.

  • Great 
  • hsn6a Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 0 N: 435] (8652)
  • [2013-08-31 13:17]

Hello Peter,
a very nice capture species sterna,thanks and regards..

Hello Peter,
A very beautiful moment you have captured.
Great timing and composition.Beautiful natural color and details.
Nice BG and point of view.
Thanks for sharing.


Hello Peter
Excellent photo of the Tern suspended in mid-air. Very nice pose, very good detail.
Good background colours
regards yiannis

the pose from your POV is wonderful, fine quality in this elegant photo!
regards Peter

Beautiful in flight photo with very good composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness.

Splendid shot Peter!
Its not easy to get a decent shot of a bird in flight. Great sharpness and a perfectly balanced BG. I loved it. Thanks for sharing,
Best Regards,

Superb capture in fly, nice composition
TFS, Ferran

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2013-09-11 9:08]

Hola Peter, que belleza de foto del ave en vuelo, lo que para mi es muy dificil de realizar; me gusta la composición, el momento captado y el fondo de la toma...saludos.

Hello Peter

Excellent shot of this Arctic Tern in its hunting / fishing pose
from the airs, excellent focus, sharpness, and details, TFS


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