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Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern
Photo Information
Copyright: Pekka Valo (pekkavalo1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 423 W: 54 N: 2120] (6789)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-06-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon EF 400mm f4.0 DO IS USM, RAW ISO 800, Canon EF 1.4x Extender II
Exposure: f/16, 1/2000 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite bird in-flight photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-10-05 8:40
Viewed: 3516
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
An adult Sandwich Tern with a catch flying above Rye Harbour nature reserve.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis, syn. Sterna sandvicensis) is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. It is very closely related to the Lesser Crested Tern T. bengalensis, Chinese Crested Tern T. bernsteini, and Elegant Tern T. elegans, and has been known to interbreed with Lesser Crested.
This bird has three subspecies:
• T. s. sandvicensis breeds on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe, and winters off western Africa and Arabia.
• The marginally smaller T. s. acuflavida breeds on Atlantic coasts of North America, wintering in the Caribbean and further south, and has wandered to Western Europe.
• Yellow-billed T. s. eurygnatha (sometimes treated as a separate species, Cayenne Tern T. eurygnatha) breeds on the Atlantic coast of South America from Argentina north to the Caribbean, intergrading with T. s. acuflavida in the north of its range.

In birds, the specific name sandvicensis usually denotes that the species was first described from Hawai‘i, formerly known as "Sandwich Islands". The Sandwich Tern does not occur there; in this case, its specific name refers to Sandwich, Kent, Latham's type locality.

This species breeds in very dense colonies on coasts and islands, and exceptionally inland on suitable large freshwater lakes close to the coast. It nests in a ground scrape and lays one to three eggs. Unlike some of the smaller white terns, it is not very aggressive toward potential predators, relying on the sheer density of the nests (often only 20-30cm apart) and nesting close to other more aggressive species such as Arctic Terns and Black-headed Gulls to avoid predation.

Like all Thalasseus terns, Sandwich Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, almost invariably from the sea. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favoured by Arctic Tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

This is a medium-large tern, 37-43cm long with an 85-97cm wingspan, which is unlikely to be confused within most of its range, although the South American race could be confused with the Elegant Tern.

The Sandwich Tern's thin sharp bill is black with a yellow tip, except in the yellow or orange billed South American race. Its short legs are black. Its upperwings are pale grey and its underparts white, and this tern looks very pale in flight, although the primary flight feathers darken during the summer. The call is a characteristic loud grating noise.

nglen, LordPotty, siggi, rousettus, maurydv, CeltickRanger, crs, Dis. Ac., jaycee has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-10-05 8:44]

Hello Pekka,
What an excellent photo of this Sandwich Tern in flight. Pin sharp and wonderful contrasting and clear colours. Fantastic blue BG. Very beautiful POV and composition.

Beautiful capture of this Tern in flight Pekka.
Incredibly sharp detail,and a bonus fish too!
Superb work!

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-10-05 11:34]

Hello Pekka
The composition is great with perfect exposure, good lighting and clear details. This is a great shot.
Well done! Siggi

Hello Pekka
what a nice capture for Sandwich Tern when its hunting time. Focus, POV, light and composition very nice. Plain blue BG nicely contrasted. Eyes contact also very nice. Thanks for sharing, well done

Ciao Pekka,
spettacolare momento di cattura, eccellenti POV e composizione per la bellissima postura di volo, ripresa con una super definizione dei dettagli, magnifici i colori e BG.

hello Pekka

excellent inflight shot of this tern with his fish capture,
with fine POV and framing, excellent sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-10-06 4:31]

Hello Pekka, Outstanding shot of this bird carrying the food or its prize for the day. Lovely view and superb clarity. Ganesh

Excellent capture of the tern in flight. Technically great, and the position of the tern is quality, not to mention the catch - a little plus that makes the photo.

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-10-06 20:49]

Hello Pekka,

You have prouven great skill in taking photos with this fine image of the bird in flight. Despite the obvious mouvement of the bird and the long focal you have used the image is very sharp showing good details of the bird and it's prey.

Thank you for sharing,

Hi Pekka,

Very good capture from this Tern with the fish.
Good pov and sharpness.
Beautiful colours.


Hi Pekka, great capture for you and for the bird, good colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-10-07 14:06]

Hi again!
Another superb photo!
This is a very sharp and clear capture of this Sandwich Tern.
Excellent pose with the fish being a bonus.
Very good composition.

Well done Pekka!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-10-08 19:13]

Hi Pekka,

This Sandwich Tern with the fish in his beak is wonderful! The position of the wings is superb. Beautiful shades of black, grey and white with extraordinarily fine details. You even caught a sparkle in his eye. The beautiful blue sky makes a wonderful background.


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