top of page

Black Terns

This week I kicked off twice at 04,00h in the morning for a 100km ride to Zouweboezem in order to arrive there with the sunrise.

There is a reliable breeding colony of these terns, and a platform close to the site has been erected: perfect. But this time I wanted to take some images away from the nests.

The first day there was no sunrise, well I mean it was not visible, grey overcast weather longer than expected. So light was low, but I could photograph longer because the light does not get harsh like it did the second morning with a clear sky and beautiful sunrise.

The first day I was active till 11,00h, the second day I stopped at 08,30h.

The birds fly on and off between the nesting site and the feeding area; some prelimary observation of their behavior was necessary in order to choose a photographing location. I used the Nikon D500 crop camera with the 500mm PF lens on the first day and with the 500mm f4 lens on the second morning; I also shot with the mirrorless full frame Z6 then.I was impressed by the performance of the autofocus of the Z6 especially when I switched the focussing area to Auto (i.o. single or 9 points or group). Next time I go I will definitely use the Z6 in combination with the 500mm PF for less weight and ease of use; as this is a full frame camera I need to get closer to the birds, so I will use my bag hide then too. This is the way I will look:

And next time was Monday; but what a surprise: the birds were not feeding in the water channels but on the mowed fields, out of my reach! No fish today, they decided, but grasshoppers, dragonflies etc. 200km for nothing.

These are agile and very fast moving birds with far too many unexpected moves. So it was quite a challenge for the focus system of the camera's and for me to get and keep them in the frame and curses where quite frequent when the bird was in the frame, but the focus could not cope. The dustbin is full.

These images were taken without tripod; it is impossible to catch the birds with your camera on a tripod or even on a monopod.

For the rest of the images you can have a look here:


67 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page