Hunting Forster’s Tern in breeding plumage at Bear River MBR

/, Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Birds, Box Elder County, Forster's Terns, Utah/Hunting Forster’s Tern in breeding plumage at Bear River MBR

Hovering, hunting Forster's Tern in breeding plumageHovering, hunting Forster’s Tern in breeding plumage – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

I came across this Forster’s Tern image a while back that I had taken in May of 2015 but had not processed because originally I thought the shadow of the right wing tips on the terns head was distracting but after looking at it again I decided it didn’t bother me as much as it did when I first viewed the file.

Forster’s Terns breed and raise their young in Utah and when they arrive in the spring they are already in their breeding plumage.

This Forster’s Tern was hovering while hunting over a unit of water on the auto tour route of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah in clear morning light. The tern was so close that I needed to remove my 1.4x teleconverter to reduce the chances of clipping the tern’s wings in my files while I photographed it.

It is a challenge to photograph Forster’s Terns while they are hunting prey because they only hover for a few seconds before they either dive very quickly into the water below after their prey or move on just as quickly to another location to hunt some more. I always feel satisfied when I can photograph these terns hovering and get sharp, detailed photos because of how difficult it is.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover December 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Great image (even with the interesting shadow). How do we post our I.D. image?

  2. Elephant's Child December 22, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Add me to those who really like the shadows. It adds an extra dimension.

  3. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver December 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Love those bright feet! Thanks for posting.

  4. Liz Cormack December 22, 2016 at 8:36 am


  5. Patty Chadwick December 22, 2016 at 8:33 am

    A beautiful image…especially like the shadows cast by the right wing on the bird’s body, the flared tail, the intensity of the bird’s focus, and the colors of bird and sky…these are such beautiful birds anyway….

  6. Bob mcpherson December 22, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Beautiful photo Mia. The action captured so brisk and sharp.

  7. Esther December 22, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Wonderful shot! Love the sense of action.

  8. Vicki December 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

    I love this photo, and I actually really like the detail of feathers in the shadow.

Comments are closed.