white tern

Nature Notes ... Birding Day on Tetiaroa

You don’t have to be a dedicated birder to enjoy watching birds on Tetiaroa. On Tetiaroa, they are not just beautiful but also not as afraid of humans as in most other places because they have no natural predators on Tetiaroa. We find that the best way to pay attention to birds is to go after them with a camera. This forces you to go slowly, be patient, and pay attention to everything around you, while also zeroing in on one bird for a moment to see what it is up to, and, if you’re lucky, capture something special with your camera.

long-tailed cuckoo in an aito tree

long-tailed cuckoo in an aito tree

My birding day started with coffee, and while I was enjoying my coffee and reading internet news on the porch of my bungalow, I caught a glimpse of something zipping by through the trees along the beach.

The wingbeat and flight path was not like a seabird, and I immediately jumped for my camera since I knew it must be a Long-tailed Cuckoo. Although you hear these birds quite often, it is rare to get a good look at one, and I had never gotten a good photo.

These birds are very wary and blend in we will the trees, but I did manage to finally get one shot at a distance before it flew off.

So then it was off to Motu Reiono where White Terns are staking out nesting sites (actually just a bare branch), and hover around nervously as you pass by.

white tern
white terns in a tree
white terns
white tern
red-footed booby

Adult white phase Red-Footed Booby

Also saw a beautiful adult white phase Red-Footed Booby – that is with a white upper body rather than the normal gray feathers.

red-footed booby

Normal red-footed booby

Up on the northern coast, along the shore of Motu Hiraanae, the Frigatebird colony (which has both Greater and Lesser Frigatebirds) was in full swing, with chicks, juveniles, and adults all in attendance.

frigatebird colony

Then late in the day, back on my porch as the sun was getting low, I was again treated to a bird moment when two Reef Herons, each one a different color morph, showed up to fish along the shore.

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