Arctic terns are annoying little buggers. Not content with 15,000 mile pole-to-pole round trips to their breeding grounds, they then spend the summer zooming about at high speed. Feeding. Feeding their mates. Feeding their young. Attacking predators. Attacking me.
Which makes them very tricky to photograph. Until the wind blows, and then this mighty midget of a bird suddenly finds that when it turns into the wind it’s stuck, frozen in space for a few seconds while it works out its next manoeuvre. Which finally gives me the chance to take a photograph which includes all the bits of the bird squarely in the frame and at least some bits of the bird in focus.
And this one (right) has lost it’s head.
Which brings me on to the start of our holiday on mainland Orkney. Often when we get anywhere it’s a question of dump the bags and lets go see what there is around on the beach (mountain, trees, etc). In Vancouver it was bald eagles flying past at head height, and Caspian terns. Madagascar, huge golden orb spiders. Bulgaria, Alpine swifts. Here on the beach at Birsay, it was a dead great black-backed gull. Which, after a close encounter with Jan, has also lost its head – the first souvenir of the trip.