One Good Tern Deserves Another (or Two)

By Henry H. Mitchell, September 2, 2009.
Royal Terns (Sterna maxima) at Myrtle Beach, SC

A threesome of Royal Terns stands at the edge of the surf.

These three Royal Terns (Sterna maxima) were spotted walking along the edge of the surf at low tide today. The two birds on the right had an ongoing animated discussion. The bird at left seemed to be trying to ignore them.

From a distance, they appeared to be gulls. At close range, however, one can recognize the distinctive black rear-swept “monk's-fringe” hood, the sharper orange beak, and the black legs characteristic of Royal Terns.

Royal Terns are year-round residents of the South Carolina Coast.

This guide to Myrtle Beach is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.