As we drove toward the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge we saw a flock of Terns swooping by.  I pulled over into a rest area and took this shot of a tern perching, briefly, on a post overlooking the wetlands. I think it’s a Forster Tern, but it could well be a Common Tern  (Merlin merely suggests it’s one or the other and leaves the final decision to me).

Tern on pole

That’s the only picture I managed to get at that first stop, despite spending 10 or fifteen minutes trying to get a shot of them in flight.  They’re not as hard as Swallows to capture mid-air, but they’re a close second.   

After we got to the refuge we spotted several in the distance where I could use my 1000mm lens (500mm with a doubler) to capture shots of them whisking by carrying small fish.

Tern with small fish

Unfortunately, since the 500 mm lens is mounted on the car door, it’s impossible to photograph terns that are very high in the air.

Tern in flight

I didn’t get a photo I liked until we left the refuge and returned to where we had seen them earlier.  Then I got out of the car and switched to the much lighter R5 camera with a 600mm telephoto with a 1.4 multiplier that Leslie had been using so that I could try to track the Terns as they flew up and down.  

Luckily, they hover for a brief moment before diving into the water.  That pause was just long enough that the autofocus on the camera would kick in, resulting in shots like this

Tern Hovering

and this.

I still haven’t managed to get a shot of a tern just as it hits the water, but that’s all the more reason to go back next year and try, try again.