Terns at Grimsby Harbour

This article features a number of new images of terns at Grimsby Harbour with most of the birds in-flight. This has been an unusual spring birding season with some locations like Hendrie Valley not being very productive.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/4000, ISO-1250, Bird Detection AI, cropped to 3995 pixels on the width, subject distance 28.8 metres

Like most people who enjoy bird photography I accept that Mother Nature sometimes doesn’t give us as many opportunities on any given photographic outing.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 346 mm, efov 692 mm, f/8.6 1/3200, ISO-4000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3393 pixels on the width, subject distance 37.7 metres

Thus far in the season most of my productive bird photography sessions have been closer to home like these images of terns at Grimsby Harbour.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 464 mm, efov 928 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2563 pixels on the width, subject distance 58.5 metres

I never thought that I’d end up with too many photographs of swallows in-flight during a spring birding season. Strange times.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 420 mm, efov 840 mm, f/8.8 1/3200, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2310 pixels on the width, subject distance 62 metres

Birds will congregate where there is ample food, shelter and nesting opportunities. The relative absence of birds at Hendrie Valley has been a disappointment this season. Perhaps the water has been too deep in the ponds to allow for wading birds like herons to fish. Thus far I’ve not seen even one great blue heron fishing at Hendrie Valley.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 420 mm, efov 840 mm, f/8.8 1/3200, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3142 pixels on the width, subject distance 61.6 metres

Even the terns have been in short supply at Hendrie Valley. I’ve gone out to Grimsby Harbour to try to photograph terns on calm days. Whenever the breeze kicks up the terns move on to other fishing areas where the visibility of their prey is better.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 346 mm, efov 692 mm, f/8.6 1/3200, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 1807 pixels on the width, subject distance 53.1 metres

Panning with a tern in flight using Pro Capture L does increase the opportunity to capture a tern dropping its catch in mid-air. It’s images like this one that encourage me to keep going out with my camera.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 420 mm, efov 840 mm, f/8.8 1/3200, ISO-5000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3163 pixels on the width, subject distance 63.1 metres

Capturing a tern exiting the water, even when unsuccessful with their fishing attempt, is always a treat.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-2000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2760 pixels on the width, subject distance 44.9 metres

Like many photographers I have an overabundance of typical fly-by images so I don’t usually spend too much of my time trying to capture additional ones.

During this particular visit to photograph terns at Grimsby harbour I was able to get an image run of a tern emerging from the water as seen in the next five consecutive photographs.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-2000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3547 pixels on the width, subject distance 45.1 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-2000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3694 pixels on the width, subject distance 45.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-2000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3416 pixels on the width, subject distance 45.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-2000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3744 pixels on the width, subject distance 45.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9 1/3200, ISO-2000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3704 pixels on the width, subject distance 46.4 metres

There were only a couple of terns attempting to fish during my recent visit. Most of their attempts were unsuccessful which could indicate that these were younger birds which had not yet developed good fishing technique.

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post.  Crops are noted. Images were resized for web use. This is the 1,181 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 420 mm, efov 840 mm, f/8.8 1/3200, ISO-4000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3137 pixels on the width, subject distance 61.6 metres

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