Caspian tern aerobatics

CaspianTern by CMaParsonsA Caspian tern (Sterna caspia) has been gracing Del Monte Beach for the past week or two. I typically see them around Monterey Bay this time of year. This is a stately bird, about the size of a gull, with a beautiful black cap, black legs and heavy orange bill.  So far I’ve seen only the single bird and she/he has spent most of the time standing on the shore, taking flight only when people and dogs approach.

CaspianTern2 by CMaParsons
Today was different. When I stepped onto the sand, the tern was already in the air. For nearly a half-hour, I watched its aerobatic maneuvers as it scanned the sea surface for fish (we’ve had shoals of anchovies in the bay lately). The tern’s performance was grand and graceful, a display of aerial mastery that I had to share with you. During your next beach walk, keep an eye on the sky (as well as on the water).

CaspianTern7 by CMaParsons

CaspianTern3 by CMaParsons






CaspianTern5 by CMaParsons

CaspianTern6 by CMaParsons






CaspianTern8 by CMaParsons

About Chris Parsons

Science writer/educator exploring nature and sharing via words, images, data and stories — to connect, inspire and conserve.
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