As The World Terns

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“Mom, pay attention. I’m hungry.”

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“I said stop ignoring me and get me some fish or I’ll throw a big tantrum.”

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“Oh brother, are they flirting?” says the juvenile sandwich tern in the back.

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“We are family!”

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“Make room for me!”

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“Dad, mom said for me to tell you to go get me some fish.”

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“Please!!!” says the juvenile on the right.

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“Can we get some peace and quiet around here?”

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“Here comes a dog. We’re outta here.”

The beach wasn’t covered with shorebirds since it was sunny when I got to Gandy beach after work. There was still a few people out walking around and swimming. I did manage to see a small flock of sandwich terns hanging out together. They were busy preening and bathing and wasn’t paying much attention to me sitting in the car. You would think a lot of drama was going on by the way they were yelling at each other. There were a few baby terns from this spring but now they are as big as the adults. Their beaks and legs aren’t as black as the adults yet. They can fly but I think they are still being fed by the parents. Soon, most of them will be gone heading south with the other migraters.

Black terns on Gandy beach – Skywatch Friday

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I had heard there were hundreds of black terns on Gandy beach in early August. By the time I made it over there in late August, there were only a handful still hanging around. Most had lost their all black feathers and were molting into some form of mix of black and white. The above was already in his winter feathers.

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You don’t realize how small they are until you see them next to a royal tern. Both little ones on the left and right are black terns in the middle of molting.

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Something spooked them and off they went. They circled around and came back to the beach.

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Was he showing off or clowning around?

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Bye bye. Down below is the reason the terns took off. This time they flew far away to the roped off area at the end of the beach.

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This guy thought it was funny to have his dog chasing after the birds. Since they were in the main beach area I didn’t say anything. All of the birds flew over to the sanctuary. I took these from the car. Although it was sunny here on this side of the beach, across the street were dark clouds and I could see lightning headed this way. I was disappointed there was no rainbow.

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I couldn’t blame the dog for wanting to run around and have fun. He was cute.

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Looking down towards the utility tower. The yellow on the left was a concrete wall so people couldn’t drive past that spot. There are also big signs that say keep out, bird sanctuary but many people don’t pay attention.

I stopped off at the beach on the way home from work to see if any black terns were still there. They migrate through in late summer and stay for a while. It started out sunny when I left work but right after I got to the beach, a nasty storm was heading for me quickly. I snapped a handful of pictures and left.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday