The height of tern season at Malheur–for me–is when the Black Terns re-tern and start catching insects over pond and marsh and meadow.
Bouyant, elegant, shimmering—there is no simple, single descriptor for the Black Terns. They criss-cross fields and shallow waters. The bounce about in flight as if they were puppets but it is their long wings and negligible wright that makes them prone to sudden moves and swerves. Sunlight reflecting off the terns’ kaleidoscopic shades of gray and black can produce shiny metallic tones or deepest jet or flashes of color that aren’t really there when the bird stops. Second image shows one tern picking prey off water surfaced like swallows do.
The Forster’s Terns seem more prosaic than their smaller, dusky cousins. I cannot imagine a Black Tern sitting on a fence post, but sometime they must rest…Biggest of the insect catchers–Swainson’s Hawk aside–are the handsome Franklin’s…
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