Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18

~Can you stand the cuteness? A Common Tern chick stretching it out at Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~

This morning I joined John Haas and Karen Miller on a trip to Nickerson Beach on Long Island; we were hoping to see some of the great terns that have been reported there in recent days. It was my first time to Nickerson Beach, and I didn’t really know what to expect. There are nesting colonies of  Common Terns, Least Terns, and Black Skimmers – all in a relatively small area, so the shear number of birds is absolutely incredible. Our timing was good for tern chicks and we saw plenty of both Least and Common Tern chicks. We spent much of our time between the Common Tern colony and the ocean, and it was remarkable to see how well the terns were doing feeding; there was a steady stream of COTEs heading out to the ocean and coming back with fish in their bills to feed young.

~Common Tern with prey, returning to the colony. Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~

We were hoping that some larger groups of terns would loaf on the beach, this would increase our chances of seeing some different terns, but this never materialized to any great extent. Whenever a larger group of terns would start to develop, sure enough a walker or jogger would come through and flush the birds. It was a perfect “beach day” after all! Apparently we had missed a Royal Tern do a fly-by while we were checking out the Least Tern colony, but we did get lucky with four GULL-BILLED TERNS which spent a good amount of time flying above and through the Common Tern colony. I was excited because of all the likely terns, this is the one I wanted to get shot of – they are a beautiful clean, sharp looking tern and they are distinctly whiter than the Commons that they were flying among. Unfortunately, we left without getting a couple of our targets – Arctic Tern and Roseate Tern. It was a great morning of birding, and getting out super early, we beat the heat for the most part.

~The star of the show for me – GULL-BILLED TERN in flight at Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 
~Common Tern shaking things up. Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 
~A Black Skimmer takes some time to reflect on things…. I couldn’t resist. Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 
~Common Tern chick, Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 
~We had incredible looks at these birds in Karen’s scope, they were just so beautiful. Least Tern with chick at Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 
~This was a pleasant surprise for me – we had several Piping Plovers during the morning. Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 
~One of our first birds of the day, Black-crowned Night-Heron at Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18.~ 

15 thoughts on “Nickerson Beach, 06/30/18”

  1. Wonderful photos, Matt! Love the shot of the Black Skimmer “taking time to reflect”.

  2. Great tern shots. Looks like your new camera is working out well. I am in Ohio now and was successful with my quest to photograph Kentucky warblers. I had them in the same area two years ago. May look for some clay colored sparrows tomorrow. Leave for North Carollina on Wed before stating for home.

    1. So far, so good with the new camera, although I have to say I’m not very comfortable navigating it yet. I’m sure it won’t take all that long. Congrats on getting the Kentucky, good luck with the Clay-colored sparrows. Any target birds in North Carolina? Matt

      1. Had grasshopper sparrows this morning but missed the dickcissals. If I get to the outer banks may look for the red cockaded w.p. Have had it in this area before. May stop at Bombay Hook on the way back up to New Jersey to look for the stilts. In addition to my Nikon d 500 I use the canon 7d 2 with the new version of the 200- 400. It is a good combination. While I am away I see that black bellied tree ducks hav been found in my county

        1. You’ve been getting loads of birds Bruce; Grasshopper Sparrows have always been favorite of mine. I’m surprised to hear that you mix Nikon and Canon – most people seem to stick to one brand. Your Canon set up is exactly what I’m shooting with now. Matt

  3. Nice shots Matt.
    You are doing great with the new toy.
    The birds are gorgeous. What hours were you there??


    1. Thanks Wilma. We arrive just after 7 am, so the light was still good. We left around 11 am. Matt

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