Juvenile Royal Terns on the Gulf Coast

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Royal Terns/Juvenile Royal Terns on the Gulf Coast

Juvenile Royal Tern at daybreakJuvenile Royal Tern at daybreak – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

I spent some time working on reprocessing some of my Royal Tern images and moving those to my new photo galleries this past week. We don’t have Royal Terns here in Utah, they are only found along ocean beaches of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.

The genus name for Royal Terns, Thalasseus maximus, is from Ancient Greek Thalasseus, “fisherman”, from thalassa, “sea”. The specific maximus is Latin for ‘”greatest”.

Juvenile Royal Tern "Feed Me" danceJuvenile Royal Tern “Feed Me” dance” – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

When I lived in Florida I was able to see and photograph juvenile Royal Terns on the Gulf Coast were they could be seen along the shoreline and they were usually begging the adults for food. I noticed that some of the juveniles would shuffle their feet rapidly on the sand while calling when they saw the adults were bringing them something to eat.

The juvenile in the top image was photographed the end of August of 2008 and its bill hasn’t fully developed the yellow orange coloration typical for Royals Terns. The juvenile in the second image was photograph the early part of October and was older than the juvenile in the first image and shows the typical bill color for Royal Terns.

I still have a few more images of Royal Terns to reprocess and add to my gallery but those will have to wait.

I’m packing up to head out into the wilderness today, time to get away from the craziness for a bit and immerse myself in the wonders of nature. I hope to be able to post from the road but that depends on being able to connect to the rest of the planet via my cell phone signal.

Life is good.


I am behind of replying to emails after having nearly a solid week of internet connection issues that were making me a bit batty. Please know I will reply when I can find time.


  1. Elephant's Child July 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Have a wonderful, restorative time out.

  2. Patty Chadwick July 11, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Love the idea of juvenile terns doing a “happy dance” when they are approached by a parent with food! Sorry you’re having problems with the internet…so very important to you that it NOT give you grief!!! Darned things are such a mixed blessing….great when all is smooth and working well, but such a pain the fisteris when not!!!

  3. April Olson July 11, 2016 at 8:36 am

    oops Terns, my fingers get ahead of my brain often.

  4. April Olson July 11, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Beautiful photo. I have not seen these turns, they made me laugh they look like they have male pattern baldness.
    Happy travels.

  5. Carol July 11, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Out in the wilderness sounds so wonderful…..guess I’m just going to have to watch crows from my backyard today!!

  6. Roger Burnard July 11, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Like I just told Ron… Have a wonderful trip, and we all hope you get a whole bunch of
    beautiful images, and we look forwarding to seeing them as soon as you can post process,
    and post them… Take care, be safe, and stay well… ;-)))

  7. Bob McPherson July 11, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Beautiful images , Mia.

    Enjoy ur trip.

  8. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver July 11, 2016 at 6:17 am

    I eagerly took a look this morning: the various plumages of terns have often stumped me, so nice to see the juvenile Royal Tern that’s rarely seen this far north where we have Least, Common, Roseate, Forsters, and occasionally Arctic to delight and confuse us. Least is my favorite. Enjoy your wilderness sojourn!

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