- Sterna vittata
Antarctic terns nest on the Antarctic peninsula and also particularly on Antarctic islands. It lays it's eggs in small quite widely spread out colonies, i.e. low density of birds in the colony. The nests are made on the ground in places that tend to be isolated but quite exposed. The eggs and the chicks are excellently camouflaged and the birds defend them from a distance so as not to draw attention to where the nest is.
The upper picture shows a tern hovering at the "nervous"
stage when its nest is being approached maybe by a skua
or other scavenger. Once the intruder gets too close for
comfort then it dive-bombs as in the lower picture. No apologies
for a lack of sharpness in this picture, this is exactly
what it seems like. The term dives and builds up great speed
before letting out an ear-piercing call that is perfectly
timed to cause maximum panic and consternation. No matter
how prepared you think you are, the first "attack" feels
like it's removed some time from your life.
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pictures taken on Signy Island, South Orkneys, Antarctica.