Tuesday 17 May 2011

Little Terns

Went to the usual spot at Kallang River to photograph the Little Terns again today. During two previous visits, I did not see them before 9am. A few started arriving only around 10am, when it was much warmer. More arrived later and feeding activities started around 11am, when it was really hot for us humans. Total count last week was 8.

The females took up their places individually at the poles. When the males took off to fish, they would call excitedly, especially when they were flying back with food for them or when they were fishing nearby. Maybe each female's call is different, and it helps the male identify where she is.

Courtship feeding. The male feeds the female.

Today, I observed something interesting. Two terns, which I presumed had already bonded, were preening themselves on a single pole. When one of them flew off and returned with a fish, I was surprised he refused to present the fish to his 'partner', flew off with the fish, and fed it to the tern on the next pole! This happened to the three bachelorettes resting at the poles closest to me. It appeared they have no partners yet and the males were undecided? One other pair was already bonded, and the male kept coming back with fish for his lady.

This fish is not for you!

Last week, I photographed one pair mating. I do not know if they would still be flying out to the poles to feed daily, or they have already found a place to start their nesting activities.

Mating Little Terns.

Last year, I photographed them at the same location around early June. I wonder if they are early this year. It would be good if I can find their nesting locations so that I can at least have a photographic record of them bringing up the chicks.

All photographs taken with Canon gear. EOS 40D, EF300mm, EF1.4x extender.