Interior Least Terns (again)

A pair of Interior least terns nesting on an sandbar in the Mississippi River in western Kentucky. This endangered species has suffered very poor reproductive success in Kentucky the last couple years. This pair was one of the few not lost to this morning's flooding at a large colony site. Nikon D300 with Nikon 500mmf4. ISO 400 f4 @1/1250th.

These are a few pictures shot while working on least terns while working in western parts of Kentucky this morning.  This Endangered species has declined due to loss of suitable nesting habitat.  The isolated sandbars which they desperately need have become fewer forcing more nesting birds onto a single island.  In Kentucky, these colonies may exceed 500 nests.  These photos were shot at a larger island where they nest.  Unfortunately a small rise in the river had inundated many nests.  If lost this early, least terns me re-nest, but success is always difficult for this species.

Click on any image to enlarge

An interior least tern takes off from her nest for a momentary stretch. Nikon D300 with Nikon 500mm f4. ISO 400 f4 @1/1000th.
A least tern enhances her scrape. A female makes a nest by kicking sand out behind her as she slowly spins in place. Nikon D300 with Nikon 500mmf4. ISO 400 f4 @1/1000
A female least tern incubates what may be a Killdeer egg. The egg is awfully large for her body size and killdeer are common in the area. Nikon D300 with Nikon 500mmf4. ISO 400 f4 1/1000th.
A female least tern incubates what may be a Killdeer egg. The egg is awfully large for her body size and killdeer are common in the area. Nikon D300 with Nikon 500mmf4. ISO 400 f4 1/1000th.
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