Monday, July 6, 2015

Least Terns

Least Tern And Chick
Friday, July 3 was a beautiful sunny day and we went out to Horseneck beach state reservation early in the morning, so we we get there before the rush of beach-going traffic.  When we arrived, there were a few cars in the parking lot and our plans were to photograph the least tern colonies that are on the beach.  There are a number of areas roped off to protect these endangered birds, along with piping plovers, all of who nest on this beautiful beach.  Even with the areas that were roped off, there was still a large portion of beach available for the sunbathers.  Walking near the roped off areas, the least terns would fly and bombard us to protect their young, and their nests.  After a while the terns went on with their normal behavior of flying out to see and bringing in fish to feed the young.  There were a number of young least terns running all over the place and waiting for a parent to bring them food.  What was interesting is that there.  Juveniles and adults, new who belongs to who.  In fact, if an adult landed near a check that was not theirs they would be chased away by an adult whose check it was.  Depending on the colony the ages of the chip were different, and in fact the older checks are roaming all over the beach, so that beachgoers have to be careful where they step.  I met up with Jamie Bogart from the Lloyd Center in Dartmouth, who monitors the plovers and terns at Horseneck.  He told me that this year has been a good year for production of young.

Least Tern in Flight Carrying a Fish
Least Tern on Ground with Wings Raised
Least Tern in Flight Overhead
Least tern adult feeding a chick
Least Tern, Chick in the Shade
Least Tern Adult Carrying a Fish Looking for Its Chick
Older Chick Running in the Sand
We need to thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, all the organizations who monitor these sites and all of volunteers and interns that help protect our endangered shorebirds, and terns.

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