Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pic of the Day

    Least Tern – Biloxi, Mississippi:  This tern was photographed at a colony located south of Highway US90 between Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi.  The colony is one of, if not the largest least tern colony in the world.  Getting close to the terns is easy as they nest right up to the sidewalk used by beach goers to access the waterfront. 
      While I was walking along the edge of the colony looking for a nest I could photograph from the sidewalk one morning, this fellow flew in to drive me away.  The bird used numerous tactics in which the most invasive were swooping upon me and pecking my head, to hovering over me and defecating.  I prefer the head pecking above the latter.  I have learned from experience that a hat is an essential piece of gear, and just plain ole common sense tells me to keep my mouth shut. 
       I used a 300mm lens attached to a gunstock mount to take the image. The Gunstock is my favorite method for shooting birds in flight as it allows for maneuverability, a quick aim and a steady shot.  That maneuvrability thing is important when terns start defecating.  
     The tern spent only a few minutes in its attacks before flying back to the depression in the sand that we call a nest, but as I continued my search other terns took its place.  Eventually I found the right nest in the right place to photograph, absent of the head pecking and, well, the other.

Nikon F5, Nikkor 300mm 2.8, Fuji Provia 100

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