My tern at Mud Islands

Wading across to Mud Islands has been on my wish list for many years and thanks to Chris from Friends of the Hooded Plovers it finally happened.

 

201411301432_9136_-2
Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) – coming in
Canon 5D3, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/800, f7.1, ISO 200, focal length 400mm

 

We set out from Blairgowrie late in the morning and arrived at Mud Islands about forty minutes later. The boat backed into the shallows,  lowered a ramp and a group of avid bird watchers braved the cold water, the sucking sands and tangling sea grass as we waded to shore while taking care not to step on the tiny crabs.

Mud Islands are two large sand banks in Port Phillip bay that provide an important habitat for bird species and have been listed as a RAMSAR site. The islands continually change shape due to tides, storms and wind. There are no trees on the islands but they are well-covered with Coast Saltbush (Atriplex cinerea).

I saw a dozen or so bird species (bird call stands at 22) but spent most of my time trying to photograph Caspian Tern and Crested Tern through the heat haze in the midday sun.

I like the way the tern, in the image above, is partially obscured by its rapidly moving wings as it brings a fish back to its chick.

 

Mud Islands tern 2Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) – looking for its chick
Canon 5D3, 100-400mm L IS USM,  1/800, f7.1, ISO 200, focal length 400mm

 

The sea of upturned bills looked comical as the parent terns arrived back at the colony.

 

Mud Islands tern 3Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) – dropping down
Canon 5D3, 100-400mm L IS USM,  1/800, f7.1, ISO 200, focal length 400mm

 

There are a couple of young chicks hiding in the image above. Chicks called constantly to the parent birds, it was  noisy and active as terns and seagulls chased incoming terns to try to steal their fish.

The images below give some idea of the busy-ness with birds of various ages and a couple of opportunistic Silver Gulls.

 

Tern chicks 2 - Kim WormaldCrested Tern chicks

 

Tern Chicks 1 - Kim WormaldCrested Tern chicks

 

Tern chicks 3 - Kim WormaldCrested Tern chicks

 

I knew I’d like Mud Islands, I didn’t know how much. I hope to get back soon.

Oh, before I go, I’m working on a lirralirra calendar again this year. It will feature images that have been successful in national and international nature photography competitions and it will be ready soon through Redbubble.

Happy birding, Kim

 

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