Waves and a Forster’s Tern

Forster's Tern in front of a dark colored waveForster’s Tern in front of a dark colored wave

The nonbreeding Forster’s Tern in these two images is the same bird and the images were taken ten frames  and a few seconds apart as the tern stood on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.

Forster's Tern in front of a light colored waveForster’s Tern in front of a light colored wave

When photographing birds on the shoreline when there are waves just a few seconds can really make a difference in the background. In the top image the wave had just barely begun to break while in the second image the wave had crested which gave the background lighter colors plus it gave the sand under the bird a glassy look where the wave had washed on shore.

Just a few seconds can make a difference.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. A very handsome bird. I prefer the background of the first image — looks like an impressionist’s painting. Thanks for another photography lesson, Mia.

  2. Isn’t it amazing the difference that a few seconds can make? And I loved both of these very different captures of the same bird. Thank you.

  3. Beautiful shots, as always. I’ve noticed that in the last few days, the camera/lens information no longer appears on your photos. Is that a deliberate decision?

    • Pierre, I was struggling when I made the posts without techs because my desktop was being repaired and I was working on my ancient computer. I’m now back up to speed!

  4. One good Tern (photo) deserves another.. having got that out of the way ;).. great photos Mia. I find that also when taking a series of photos of same bird in auto mode, one or two of them will stand out..just due to the way the sun fell on the image in that split second.

    I don’t know why these terns wear those dark glasses, we all know its them ;) ( stus longest post on Mia’s blog ;)

  5. They are both super shots, but the second one really stands out for me.

  6. Beaut mood in these shots, really lovely.

  7. Wow, a Forster’s Tern, excellent pictures.

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