PictureRoseate tern chick and adult preening on RSPB Coquet Island Webcam - 17/08/2016
As we enter autumn, the roseate terns' breeding season is coming to a close and parents with their newly fledged offspring are starting to head to their wintering grounds of West- and South- Africa, stopping occasionally along the water's edge to rest.

Although the numbers at their nesting areas are dwindling, there is still lots of tern activity being captured on the webcams. The photo above shows a synchronized preening session with an adult roseate tern and its chick.

PictureRoseate Tern fledgling (c) Wesley Davies
Right now the chick on the webcam still looks quite fluffy, but given time and lots of fish from its hard-working parents, this chick will continue to mature, taking on a more fledgling appearance. It has already started! Note the pattern on the wings are just about visible on this roseate tern chick, revealing that it is already growing in its flight feathers.

Better keep your eyes peeled as soon this little chick and others will begin jumping and helicoptering about, building up wing muscle!

Once they have successfully 'fledged' - these young birds will continue to improve, getting more flying practice in and also start working on catching their own fish!

PictureCommon Tern fledgling (c) Brian Burke

Common tern adults and fledglings are also still about and are also preparing for the up and coming migration.

For both tern species it is quite a lengthy journey, but the family unit will stick together allowing the fledglings to perfect their fishing technique.

Here is a quick way to identify between these two different fledglings (courtesy of Rockabill Blog).

"Roseate Tern fledglings are a little bit smaller than their Common counterparts, and are generally darker in their feathering, with black legs and a black bill. Overall they bear a closer resemblance to Sandwich Tern chicks, despite not being particularly closely related to them. Common Tern fledglings have a mostly orange bill with pink-ish legs and warmer brown and light grey colours to their plumage."

Below is some fantastic footage of a roseate tern chick on Rockabill Island practicing its flying skills. This one has got the hover part down, but it might have to work on its landing - though it is hard when your tail is still very short!

If you are interested in watching these fantastic moments live - just check out our webpage COQUET LIVE, otherwise we shall continue to upload small video clips onto our VIDEOS page in GALLERY.

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