Monday, 11 May 2015

White Fronted Tern -Tara

The White Fronted Tern (Maori name Tara) is the most commonest tern seen around New Zealand’s coastline. You might think, like I used to, that the ‘white front’ relates to the breast of the bird. I thought this until I saw Black Fronted Tern and couldn’t understand why it also had a white front.

The name ‘white-fronted’ refers to the forehead, where a strip of white separates the black cap from the black bill. Most other ‘capped’ terns, including the black-fronted tern, have black caps that reach the bill when in breeding plumage.

A small flock of White Fronted Terns frequented our beach in Greymouth, resting on the sand in front of the van after each fishing foray. As the tide advanced they would fly onto a large blackened log to rest out of the swirling water.

By the squawking and posturing going on, there was obviously a hierarchy of who was entitled to what position on the log.

Landing gear down, make room, make room…

…air brakes on, I’m coming in…

Well you’re not taking my spot….nor mine…..

I said ‘you’re not having mine, now push off’….

‘Watch out, he coming in here…

...go away, go away, you’re not welcome, go on, push off, leave…

The tern equivalent of a high-five…’we did it, we did it….’

Don't even think about it.......I’m the king of the castle…..

Once jostling was done and they were all evenly spaced along the log, peace settled over the group…….until the next big wave crashed around the log and they’d all lift off again…..


  1. Brilliant....fusing photography, with words, your eye, and personality.
    You made something special out of something most people don't even see!
    IMHO..... a huge step into a different world....go for it!
    Massive thumbs up!

    1. Glad you enjoyed a different take on the blogs, I'll be on the look out for more bird 'stories' now :) It helped that the van was parked right beside them so I had the chance to observe all weekend and see what they were up to.


Thanks for taking the time to comment, it's much appreciated.