Terns, Terns, and Gulls

Flock of terns and gulls

Early Tuesday morning, we left and fog to travel to Race Point Beach in the Province Lands Section Of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Upon reaching the beach, the wind was blowing, but the fog had lifted off to the horizon. We walked down to the shoreline, at a slow incoming tide, and observed and photographed the various species flying. The birds would fly by individually and then in groups. At any moment the sky could be filled with hundreds of terns and gulls.

Large flock of terns
Flock of gulls

Suddenly, the water in front of us started to the boil with baitfish which led to a start of a feeding frenzy, especially for the laughing gulls. They would skim across the water and dive under trying to catch the fish. Common terns also joined in the feeding. Although, I did not capture any pictures of the birds coming up with fish my son did.

Laughing gull feeding sequence
Laughing gull feeding sequence
Laughing gull feeding sequence
Laughing gull feeding sequence

Gull species that we identified included great black-backed gull, laughing gull, herring gull, Bonaparte’s gull, and ring-billed gull.

Bonaparte’s gull
Ring-billed gull flying over Bonaparte’s gull
Laughing gull
Herring gull

I captured images of common and least terns. Also, I visualized a black tern.

Least Tern
Common terns in flight

Out toward the horizon, Jaegers were flying along with a northern gannet.

Pomarine Jaeger – Stercorius pomarinus

The day previously, people who were observing the activity at the beach, saw the Jaegers closer to shore and harassing the terns for their fish catch.