Black Tern photography Floating hide session
With our floating photo-hide you get close to Black terns and other waterbirds and can experience and photograph/ film them at very close distance. The open wetlands and lakes of the Black River Valley with beds of Carex and waterlilys is a rich eco-system with plenty of birds, fish and insectlife. Surrounded by a tranquil, rural countryside this is a wonderful environment to experience, especially evenings and early mornings. The piercing calls of the Black Terns might feel annoying to some but adds a lively atmosphere to the habitat. When they get extra loud it is time to look up, maybe a raptor like a White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier or Osprey is hunting nearby the tern colony. Ospreys like to hover and dive to catch fish just where we normally put ourselves in the hide. Bittern, Water rail and several passerines sings from the reedbeds.
Morning or evening
The first morning hours or the last hours of daylight at night hold the best photo light and the best bird activity. Hence we offer morning- and evening sessions. The hide is a bit sensitive to wind and these hours are also the most calm and best from that aspect.
The hide has got two openings to the sides in normal sitting height. It is also possible to lie down in the hide to photograph from a lower angle. The hide is built for the purpose and is like a platform on pontoons. On the platform there is a tentlike building made from canvas. A chauffeur/ guide takes you there so you can concentrate entirely on the photography. To us it is of greatest importance that the birds are not disturbed so be prepared that our guide will set some limits. However the birds are surprisingly unafraid of the hide, despite being very obvious. We have perches put up where the birds like to sit.
Best time in the season
Black terns start to moult early and already in June they start to get some white feathers on chin and breast (especially the females). The most black plumages you´ll see in late May – early June. Another interesting period offering different kinds of pictures is the latter part of the breeding season when the fledglings are out on their wings being fed by their parents. They also perch a lot in this part of the season. Normally mid-late July.
About the Black tern
The Black tern (Chlidonias niger) is one of three species of ”Marsh terns” in the Chlidonias family. The Black Tern is very localized in Sweden and breeds mainly in 5 areas. The wetlands of Västmanland/ Uppland is the northernmost of these areas in Sweden. Normally 30-40 pairs breed in the lakes of the Black River Valley. Usually in one major colony and several smaller ones. The Swedish population is estimated to ca 220 pairs. The Black terns are depending on open, rich wetlands with a rich fauna of insects and fish. As soon as the youngs start to fly the families start to prepare for the migration southwards. They congregate along the way to the wintering grounds in Western Africa in bigger lakes and in coastal lagoons along the European coast. They return to their breeding grounds early – mid May but it always takes another week or two before they establish the new colony. During the first week it is important that they are not disturbed, that’s why we always await the last week of May til we start the photography season.
In the vicinity of the Black Terns sometimes Little Gulls breed, more common Great-crested Grebes, Common Terns, Osprey, White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier often hunt nearby. Bittern, Waterrail, Spotted Crake and passerines like Reed- and Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, etc.
When? How? For whom?
We are situated in the Black River Valley, Västmanland (county), Sala (municipality) and we normally meet up with our clients by the church in Fläckebo. If you are coming by train you can be picked up in either Sala or Västerås. If you fly you can come to Västerås airport or Arlanda airport. A transfer from Arlanda will be charged extra.
· 25 May - 25 July
· How many: max 2 persons
· Included: a night or morning session in the floating hide, with guide/chauffeur.
· In the vessel there are chairs, lifejackets, fleece blankets to keep you warm.
· Good to bring:
Waterproof boots/rubber boots, binoculars, warm as well as cool clothes, your own water bottle.