To the Moon and Back

The Arctic Terns have arrived at Potter Marsh on their odyssey migration from the arctic to antarctica.
They can cover 24,000 miles each year during their migration,
and some 500,000 miles in a lifetime, the distance to the moon and back.
With high aspect ratio wings (long slender) they are built for distance as well as manuverability.

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They live up to 20 years in age.

Some will nest here and raise their young, others will head further north.

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They eat small fish and invertebrates,

which they find by scanning the water in a hover, then dive straight down for the catch.

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They love the water, and will bathe and splash when not hunting food.

They take off straight out of the water!

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Photographing these birds has been a great experience,

and a pleasure to learn more about such amazing creatures.

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27 Responses to To the Moon and Back

  1. Rambling says:

    How lovely.  What a treat to see.

  2. Sherry says:

     A pleasure to look at too. Thanks again for opening the window to your world.

  3. Vieille Ourse says:

    WOW these are marvellous pictures !!! Just so accurate and colorful. I really like these birds a lot … don\’t know why … but does it need an explanation ?
    Thanks a lot Steve for sharing this experience and all these scientific details … I love it .
    Hugs from Belgium.
    P.S Hopefully the babies of "my Mrs Swan" have now hatched … will have to drive to the place and have a closer look … Will keep you posted !!!

  4. Cat says:

    One wonders what they think and feel about their lives –

  5. Babblelot says:

    So beautiful and so sleek an smooth looking. Wow!Even red feet? Wonderful pictures! My first at seeing thesebirds.

  6. Beth says:

    The Terns are magnificent and so are the pictures!

  7. brettskib says:

    As usual amazing photographs Steve, Hope its getting a little warmer for you up there , as far as the rain goes thanks but you had better do a lot of thinking, still no rain in site and our water supply for 3 million people is at 30% capacity 4 minute showers are the orders from our Dear Leaders so I guess even the powerful are getting a bit wiffy LOL Cheers Brettskib 🙂 

  8. R U Serious says:

    That\’s another Great album!!!  But the person I was referring appears to be a Buffet freak!!  Hard to surprise.
    Great photos as usual!!  When I win that damn lottery, you will be SOO there!!
    Take care buddy!!

  9. Cindy says:

    These are the bird I was the happiest to see while in Alaska.  They\’re amazing…and so are your pictures.

  10. Dianne says:

    Good evening Steve, Great photos. Thanks for the interesting information as well. I enjoy learning about all kinds of nature. I can truly say I learned something today. Very enjoyable. Take care. Dianne

  11. Cindy says:

    Aren\’t they amazing?
    You\’re photos are spectacular!!
    Hugs from Utah!

  12. Lyn says:

    Wow, they are spectacular birds. Reminds me of watching the Osprey up at the cabin at Lake Chatcolet. They have a nest right out from the houseboat, and I love to watch them feed at night. Cant wait for summer, since I cant be in Alaska, I will settle for the lake. haha. Thanks, off to the horses again. Lyn

  13. Barb says:

    These are wonderful images Steve.  I didn\’t know any of this info on the terns so it was great to get to know these beautiful birds.
    Potter Marsh must be getting rather crowded!
    Hug hugs 🙂

  14. Sunny Anna says:

    These pictures are so impressive, it\’s amazing to see these birds so closely, were they swallows? I notice their forked tails, they seemed they can fly to no matter where they want, a lot of freedom.
    Its always surprised to see good pictures in your space, and its nice that you sent me the message. Wish you have a good day.  

  15. Fizz says:

    And they are stunning… beautiful creatures. I love birds… up until recently, I\’ve always owned birds like a canary or two.
    You\’ve done them justice!
    — Fizz —

  16. Aimee says:

    i love coming here to gain the info and see your beautiful pictures… 
    ♥~♥ :oD the shortest distance between two people is a smile… :oD ♥~♥

  17. Barb says:

    Seems everytime I come I use the word WOW..
    However I too always learn something and always
    get to enjoy spectacular pictures
    I hope things are warming up somewhat for you
    we finally have spring here in Soouthern Ontario
    so I am enjoying the growth of spring..
    BE Well

  18. Kimmy says:

    They are such spectacular birds. I had no idea they lived for so long. Fantastic captures Steve! You and that camera are just da\’bomb. 😉

  19. Tani says:

    Wonderful clear captures. Nice work Steve.
    I have never heard of these birds, but they look like they would be vary exciting to photograph.

  20. Sheila says:

    Hiyo Steve!from the tucked landing gear in the last one, to the curve of the wings in the third one, you have managed to capture all of the intricate aerodynamic details of the design of these darling and incredible birds. The one of the two together…they look like stereo Star Trek space ships…and the perspective of the one where they are playing in the water is amazing, that you could get such sharp tack photos of this little dynamo of a bird!thank you for sharing this…what lens did you use…the bazooka?I am going to research this and see if we have any terns here, seems to me I saw something similar at Lawson Creek where I run and bike.take care up and over there,I will do the same down and over here,hugs hugs

  21. alice says:

    Wow, beautiful shots and amazing creature!

  22. PEP says:

    I can tell you had fun photographing these birds it shows through the pictures.

  23. Ann says:

    Oh Steve…they are breathtaking. So beautiful.

  24. Cheryl says:

    We had some here about a month ago.  My pictures of them are not nearly as great as your are.  Thanks for sharing this.  I did not know what they were but could recognize them by the color of their beaks and the split tail wing.

  25. Charles says:

    These are all great photos Steve, their boddies and wings look like they are made for long distances, surprising for how long their wings are that the wings are not all that thick, like huge gliders.

  26. brettskib says:

    Glad you enjoyed the Edgar A Poe poem I put on my space you are right he was a very interesting Man and very neglected if you run thru my blogs you will find a few more of his poems take care cant wait for your next lot of pics Brettskib 🙂

  27. Nessa says:

    I think Stunning is the only word capable of describing these photo\’s – I think Terns are such lovely birds and very graceful xx

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