The Arctic Tern’s favourite nesting places are near the sea or lakes where they are sure to get some small fish, sticklebacks or fingerlings. During the breeding time the males start feeding the females.
To lay healthy eggs the female needs more food and the male seems to know this. The female squeaks loudly and waits for food, keeping the males very busy. It is an interesting sight to see.
Every spring Icelanders eagerly await the coming of the Arctic Tern and its arrival deserves news coverage. The Arctic Tern is a long distance migrant. Its winter grounds are in the sea around South Africa and Antarctica but it breeds in the Arctic. Can you go any further?
Most Terns stay near the coast but they also venture inland, even as far as the interior. The Icelandic population is estimated around 500,000 pairs.
The first Arctic Terns were seen by Selfoss today. They flew up River Ölfusá against the northern storm in a temperature slightly above zero. They are used to all sorts of weather here in the North but still they arrive every spring year after year all the way from the southernmost part of the Atlantic Ocean.
As early as the end of April they were first spotted by the seaside but now they are on their way inland in search of breeding places. The breeding time is the only time of year that the Arctic Tern searches inland, at other times it is constantly on flight over the open seas.
The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) has now left the mountain lakes in the Icelandic interior. On August 7 they were flying above the lakes in flocks, catching sticklebacks to feed to their young ones. Three days later they had disappeared with their chicks that were by then ready for flight. In all probability they are now in the sea around the country and will soon take flight in a southward direction. After about two months flight they will reach the sea around the South Pole (Antartica) where they will stay until spring arrives again.
The first Arctic Terns were seen in Selfoss yesterday. A few days ago they were seen at the coast. The Tern is known as one of the longest distance migrant. It is an agile flyer and is on constant flight over sea except during the breeding time in the Arctic. Its winter grounds, if you can call it that, are in the sea around South Africa and Antarctica.
The Tern is a breeding bird in Iceland, mostly staying near the coast but also inland, even as far as the interior. The Icelandic breeding population is estimated around 500,000 pairs.
Video from last summer, Veiðivötn, South Interior, Iceland.