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The Terns of Dublin Docks

October 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
The Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. This bird has a circumpolar distribution, its four subspecies breeding in temperate and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. It is strongly migratory, wintering in coastal tropical and subtropical regions. Breeding adults have light grey upperparts, white to very light grey underparts, a black cap, orange-red legs, and a narrow pointed bill. Depending on the subspecies, the bill may be mostly red with a black tip or all black. There are a number of similar species, including the partly sympatric Arctic Tern, which can be separated on plumage details, leg and bill colour, or vocalisations. Breeding in a wider range of habitats than any of its relatives, the Common Tern nests on any flat, poorly vegetated surface close to water, including beaches and islands, and it readily adapts to artificial substrates such as floating rafts. The nest may be a bare scrape in sand or gravel, but it is often lined or edged with whatever debris is available.
 
The terns, family Sternidae, are small to medium-sized seabirds closely related to the gulls, skimmers and skuas. They are gull-like in appearance, but typically have a lighter build, long pointed wings (which give them a fast, buoyant flight), a deeply forked tail, slender legs, and webbed feet. Breeding adult Common Terns have pale grey upperparts, very pale grey underparts, a black cap, orange-red legs, and a narrow pointed bill that can be mostly red with a black tip. The Common Tern was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758 under its current scientific name, Sterna hirundo. (wikipedia)
 
The images below are images of a few adult birds, which fish, fight, scream and jostle for each other's attention during the summer months in Dublin Bay and around the basin of the grand canal. The birds are quite tame and often fly, unbeknownst to those walking by, within inches of their heads. It's always a great place to spend some time relaxing and watching the terns do their thing in the summer months. 
 
Common Tern (adult) Common Tern (adult) Common Tern (adult) Common Tern (adult) Common Tern (adult) Common Tern (adult) Common Tern (adult)

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