Tag Archives: least tern

Sunrise and Terns

Tom M. and I went over to Cocoa Beach last week. Jim B. told us about some Least Terns nesting on a hotel rooftop there, and we wanted to take a look.

I got up at o-dark-thirty and met Tom to drive over.  Our reward was a gorgeous morning!

Seeing the sun rise above the sea soothed her soulSeeing the sun rise above the sea soothed her soul

I don’t know the woman in this photo.  She was enjoying the sunrise too, and I was grateful for her contribution to my composition.

When the sunrise show was over, we headed south on SR A1A to find the Terns.  They were right where Jim said they would be.  We knew we were in the right place when we noticed all the guano in the parking lot and on the cars.

The birds were flying off the roof in small groups with an occasional eruption of what seemed like the entire colony.  At times there must’ve been over a hundred in the air.

Least Tern in flightLeast Tern in flight

They’re small (8 or 9 inches long) and fast and erratic flyers.  To get a photo, you’ll need a long lens, good technique, and / or persistence and some good luck.  I used my Nikon D-800 with the Tamron 150 – 600mm lens.  Even with such a long lens, I had to crop these two  images pretty heavily.  The main issues I had were trying to follow the birds in such a magnified field of view – and hoping that the focus on my camera could keep up.

Getting consistent results is difficult.  I took many photos and got few keepers. Tracking something so small, fast, and erratic with a long telephoto lens takes some practice!

Least Tern in flight with minnowLeast Tern in flight with minnow

Cocoa and the surrounding area is a very photogenic place.  You can see other photos I’ve made  there in this set on Flickr.  And you can also read Jim’s blog post about the Terns at this link:  http://jbophoto.com/least-terns-2/.  Thanks Jim!

And thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.