When I moved from Florida to Utah I felt it was fortunate that some of the nonbreeding birds I used to see in Florida during the winter I now get to see in breeding plumage on their nesting grounds.
The image above shows a nonbreeding Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri) that I photographed at Fort De Soto County Park in Florida during the month of February a few years ago. Note the dark bill and the dark mask with the pale nape on this bird.
The photograph above was taken at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge in Utah of an adult Forster’s Tern in breeding plumage on a nest that this bird and its mate were building. Note the black cap and how the bill is now orange with a distinct black tip.
I wish I would have been able to photograph the Forster’s Terns as they raised their young but this was taken the day before the Bear River closed the roads for construction that summer. It was a real pity too because this nest was not far from the gravel road of the auto tour route. Barring any unforeseen flooding this year the roads should remain open and I might just get the opportunity to photograph these graceful terns with their young.
More Forster’s Tern images