Hovering Forster’s Tern

Hovering Forster's TernHovering Forster’s Tern – Nikon D7100, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Last week I photographed this adult Forster’s Tern in flight as it foraged for food above Glover Pond near Farmington Bay WMA. I have found photographing terns in flight challenging because they fly fast and change direction even faster. For Forster’s Terns hovering only lasts 3 to 4 seconds which doesn’t give photographers much time to lock focus and fire the shutter.

I love the pose of the tern in this image but I do wish I had gotten better eye contact but that can be difficult because they have black eyes in their black caps plus they look down to search for prey . Quite often I will hear their call before I see them which gives me time to locate the tern and track its movement through my viewfinder. Forster’s Terns do breed in Utah and I often see them flying over freshwater marshes, ponds and lakes searching for prey.




  1. Bill Richmond August 13, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Great feather texture in this inflight image! I am looking forward to seeing these for the first time in mid to late November!!

  2. Utahbooklover August 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Very good Mia. I too love this shot and think this is a beautiful image of a beautiful bird.

  3. Elephant's Child August 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Wow. And that spread of feathers? Amazing. Thank you.

  4. M. Bruce August 12, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Forster’s Terns are fascinating subjects to be sure. I sometimes see large groups diving right next to the freeway in SF Bay. Nice work as always Mia.

  5. Patty Chadwick August 12, 2014 at 7:42 am

    A beaitiful shot…looks like he’s just about to plunge…don’t see hiw you get these shots.

  6. John Randall August 12, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Wonderful pic Mia!

  7. Montanagirl August 12, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Great catch, Mia!

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