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The Least Terns have Re(tern)ed, Earth Day Special

04 Apr Posted by in Blog, north carolina birding, shorebird | Comments Off on The Least Terns have Re(tern)ed, Earth Day Special
The Least Terns have Re(tern)ed, Earth Day Special

A Least Tern with two chicks

The next time you head to the beach, turn the volume down on your radio and instead listen for a sharp, high-pitched twittering sound. That’s the call of the Least Tern, the smallest species of the tern family of nesting shorebirds. They fly all the way from their wintering grounds in Central America to spend their summer with us here on the Cape Fear coast, and they’ve just recently arrived.

We spotted several pairs this week on the Shamrock, to the delight of passengers and crew alike. Captain Joe calls them “cigars with wings” because they’re so small, and we observed them sunning themselves on the sandbars, diving for fish, and courting prospective mates with some impressive in-air acrobatics. Their boomerang-shaped wings allow them to make sharp aerial turns and maneuver better than other, larger species. During the summer, Wrightsville Beach gets several species of tern, including the Royal tern and the Sandwich tern, and it’s always a treat to see these little guys hanging out with their larger cousins.

If you’d like to spot a tern, take advantage of our Earth Day Special: In celebration of Earth Day, tickets for the Island Safari trips aboard our new Panga Cruising skiff Island Hopper are buy two, get one free for the entire month of April. For example, if you have a party of three people that would like to cruise, then the third passenger rides for free. That’s a savings of $75! These trips take you into the back creeks of local islands, deep into the Spartina grass, and place you as close to the wildlife as is humanly possible. Island Hopper is dry, comfortable, and fast, and every trip includes the naturalist expertise of Captain Joe, who holds two degrees from UNC-W in environmental science. So call Captain Joe now at (910) 200-4002 to make your reservation.