tomwilson

04 Aug 2017 57 views
 
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photoblog image Farne Islands Arctic Tern

Farne Islands Arctic Tern

 

In flight it is difficult to distinguish the Arctic Tern from the Common Tern - hence they tend to be lumped together as "comic" terns :-)  This is definitely the Arctic variety: it has an all-red, shorter bill, and a less graceful neck. There are about 2,000 breeding pairs on the islands - just about the furthest south they breed, other colonies are in the northern isles of Scotland. Paradoxically, there are relatively few of the "common" tern on the islands, perhaps less than 100 breeding pairs.

 

A tiny bird from the Farne Islands off Northumberland has clocked up the longest migration ever recorded. The Arctic tern’s meandering journey to Antarctica and back saw it clock up 59,650 miles, more than twice the circumference of the planet.

 

The bird, which weighs just 100g, left its breeding grounds last July and flew down the west coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and arrived in Antarctica in November. Its mammoth trek was recorded by a tiny device attached to its leg, weighing 0.7g - too light to affect its flight.

 

 

 (The Guardian, 7 June, 2016)

 

Farne Islands Arctic Tern

 

In flight it is difficult to distinguish the Arctic Tern from the Common Tern - hence they tend to be lumped together as "comic" terns :-)  This is definitely the Arctic variety: it has an all-red, shorter bill, and a less graceful neck. There are about 2,000 breeding pairs on the islands - just about the furthest south they breed, other colonies are in the northern isles of Scotland. Paradoxically, there are relatively few of the "common" tern on the islands, perhaps less than 100 breeding pairs.

 

A tiny bird from the Farne Islands off Northumberland has clocked up the longest migration ever recorded. The Arctic tern’s meandering journey to Antarctica and back saw it clock up 59,650 miles, more than twice the circumference of the planet.

 

The bird, which weighs just 100g, left its breeding grounds last July and flew down the west coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and arrived in Antarctica in November. Its mammoth trek was recorded by a tiny device attached to its leg, weighing 0.7g - too light to affect its flight.

 

 

 (The Guardian, 7 June, 2016)

 

comments (14)

  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 4 Aug 2017, 06:26
The red bill and legs makes it a handsome thing to my eyes Tom
Tom Wilson: It's a handsome little bird - well, medium-sized smile
She's a splendid specimen, Tom.
Tom Wilson: Lots of them around on the island
Magnifique portrait de cette sterne.
Tom Wilson: Merci, Martine!
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 4 Aug 2017, 08:11
I am curious as to what it is perched on Tom.
Tom Wilson: Just a stone wall, Chad, withe a cement topping.
I had a funny turn the other day grin
Tom Wilson: Ah! That's an entirely different species, Bill smile
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 4 Aug 2017, 08:57
Great shot of this obliging tern. It is always difficult to show the eye when a bird has a black head and dark eye - but this one can be seen - so, good for you.
Tom Wilson: Thanks, Louis - as you've seen, the birds were very obliging!
These too have interesting lives, as I believe they have the longest migration of any bird.
Tom Wilson: Indeed, that is the case, Mary: I've just added this to the description:
A tiny bird from the Farne Islands off Northumberland has clocked up the longest migration ever recorded. The Arctic tern’s meandering journey to Antarctica and back saw it clock up 59,650 miles, more than twice the circumference of the planet.

The bird, which weighs just 100g, left its breeding grounds last July and flew down the west coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and arrived in Antarctica in November. Its mammoth trek was recorded by a tiny device attached to its leg, weighing 0.7g - too light to affect its flight.
She's a fine looking bird.
Tom Wilson: They all seemed to be in good nick, Brian.
  • Ray
  • Not in United States
  • 4 Aug 2017, 14:14
Another beauty, Tom.
Tom Wilson: Thanks, Ray.
What beautiful coloring on this bird. You have captured the details fabulously in this close up.
Tom Wilson: Thanks, Ruthie!
59,000 miles--wow!
Tom Wilson: Quite something, eh? Of course it only had 100 grams to carry along smile
Super shot, Tom. What an athlete...smile
Tom Wilson: Thanks, Frank - amazing, isn't it?
  • Les Auld
  • United Kingdom
  • 4 Aug 2017, 20:55
An amazing little bird Tom, but very aggressive on the Farnes if they think their young are in danger. I can vouch for the hardness of their beaks when they attack.
Tom Wilson: Yes, me too, Les - in spite of having a hat, I could still feel the beak!
Your excellent shot proves your identification!
Tom Wilson: I was surprised that there were so few Common Terns - didn't see a single one!

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