Antarctic Tern
Sterna vittata
The Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata) is a circumpolar resident of the southern oceans and Antarctic seas. It is similar in appearance to the Arctic Tern (S. paradisaea), which is occasionally seen in the same vicinity (but not in alternate plumage). This pair on the right was feeding a tiny chick (not visible under the sitting bird) at Grytiviken, South Georgia, in January, 1996. The photograph was taken with a Canon T-90 & FD 400mm F4.5 lens mounted on a tripod with Fuji Sensia 100 film.
The Antarctic Tern at right was photographed at the same location as above, but three years later, in January 1999. A Canon EOS 1N with a EF 70-200mm F/2.8 lens with a 1.4X extender was used from a gunstock mount. The film was Fuji Sensia 100. The bird was foraging near the shore making shallow dives for small fish. The next shot shows another Antarctic Tern at the same time and location as the foraging bird.
The bird at right was perched on an ice flow in Wilhemina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, in February, 2005. This image and the three more below were all shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and an EF 70-200 F/2.8 L lens and 2X extender.
This shot and the next show several Antarctic Terns on an ice flow at the same location as the previous image. Note the very young bird with the barred plumage. The next shot shows a similar view with one non-breeding bird in the foreground.
This image shows a non-breeding bird in flight at the same location and time as above. Although terns like this are often thought to be Arctic Terns, I believe this is simply a non-breeding Antarctic Tern. These shots were taken near a breeding colony of Antarctic Terns in a location well away from the pelagic habitats that Arctic Terns seem to prefer in their non-breeding season.