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Photos of white-fronted terns at Muriwai and Auckland's Tamaki Drive

All photos © Paul Hafner      (Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.)

Photos from Muriwai

tern in flight Tern in flight (January 98)
tern in flight Tern in flight, with catch

Photos from Tamaki Drive, Auckland

After Christmas (1998), I realised that there was a group of terns with chicks on the rocks along Tamaki Drive, near the boat lockers. While the young mainly sat on one spot, occasionally moving to the next one, it could also happen that all at a sudden one of them took a bit of a flight, say a circle of about 60 m diameter. They also could land on the water, but returned quickly to their vantage points on the rocks.

One night on returning from the movies I checked if they were still there, and indeed, the whole group was quietly resting there.

I don't know where they had been nesting and incubating their eggs, but I doubt that they could have survived the severe storm a few weeks ago in between these rocks.

(Added Christmas 1999: having observed the birds over the last few months, I now know that the breed on the piles of the wavescreen around the dinghy lockers. They do not come to the rocks along the shore, so what I observed last year must have been the result of a catastrophy (the big storm) which must have thrown a good number of chicks off their rather unprotected perch. The rocks then offered a second, if uncomfortable, chance.)

The adult birds can get quite protective of their young, when people pass by, taking close swipes at intruders (but they soon calm down).

Photos from Tamaki Drive, Auckland, September-December 1999

tern in flight Tern in flight (29/12/98)
tern on rock Tern on rock (29/12/98)
tern on rock, with catch Tern on rock, with catch (29/12/98).

The young birds are fed fish this size which they gulp down in one piece, with some amusing contortions if the passage through their throat is a bit narrow.

young tern (fledged) Young tern (fledged) (29/12/98)

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