Saturday, 4 April 2015

Birds of Newcastle - Crested Head Tern


In Newcastle, you can drive to the eastern most end of Elizabeth Street in Carrington and park your car.  From there it is a short walk to the pedestrian rail overpass bridge onto the foreshore of the Newcastle Harbour.  In the midst of the industrial coal loading area there is a small park with picnic table under a gazebo and some great fishing points off small wharfs with a view east to Stockton and south to Honeysuckle.

It doesn't appear to be a terribly popular spot simply due to the access but, it does give some different angle views of the harbour.

On arrival there I noted a turbulent area about 20 metres off the foreshore.  It must have been a school of small fish because no sooner had we seen it then a flock of birds showed up and began diving into its midst.  This was pretty amazing to watch and a challenge to photograph.

I always use a single focus point on my Canon 600D and trying to follow the birds as they flew and dived with the single point really tested me.  I had the camera set at AI Focus which moves the focus automatically from single shot to AI Servo for following moving objects and also set for continuous shooting.  The 600D only shoots at 3.7 frames per second and is not the quickest for this sort of shooting but I still managed to get some decent photos I think.  (I think I have just identified a project for myself - panning - make a note Editor!)

I am fairly certain that the birds are the Crested Head Terns (also known as Crested Tern).  It took me a while to identify them by photos on Google Search.  I thought there were more than one type of bird but as it turns out, their plumage differs according to age, whether they are breeding and some other factors thrown in as well.

These birds can be found in coastal areas, estuaries, inlets and sometimes on large inland lakes and rivers.  They hang out with their Seagull cousins on beaches and jetties.  The males will dive on fish just below the surface and present the fish to a female as a mating ritual.

About 10 metres off the shore are these small round 'mooring islands' for want of a better term.  Man made of course of concrete and brick with rusty old mooring bollards on top.  I am not sure if they were purposefully built to be off the shore or if they formed part of a previous structure but they have wonderful texture and colour from the brick and rusted steel.  Added to that was the soft texture of the grass that had somehow found its way across the watery moat to grow with nary a lawn mower in sight!  They are also a perfect nesting spot for the Terns, away from predators.

This was a really interesting safari!  Discovered a quiet little area on Newcastle Harbour and had a very pleasant afternoon.  I wonder how many more little areas like this are around the Harbour?  Looks like I have some more exploring to do!


The photos on this post are for sale.  Contact me if you are interested.

All photographs on this Blog and on my corresponding Google + account are Copyright © Life with Jordy Photography All Rights Reserved and may not be used without permission.