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Least Terns (maybe chicks) Workshop

  • Southern New Jersey Beach (map)


$25 deposit to reserve spot

Use the contact form to reserve your spot

  • Length: 3 hours

  • Medium Difficulty: Short walk onto beach, laying down prone in one spot for long periods of time. (Sitting up is generally not an option as it disturbs the birds)

Join me to photograph the smallest tern species in the US, the bold and brave Least Tern. These little terns more than make up for their small size with attitude. They are very defensive, and full of character as they strut around the open beach. We will be laying down right in the middle of their territory and as soon as we lay down they will calm down and start landing all around us. The late evening sun will continue to get better and better as we wait around and we’ll also get some options to play around with some backlighting techniques (if it’s sunny). There will be some hatched chicks in the colony but it will be somewhat random if we will be able to get close to one because it is a very large protected beach area. The main goal will be photos of the adults but we will certainly take advantage of any opportunity we are provided with the chicks.


  • Lots of noisy and defensive birds that will dive at your head as you walk into the shooting location. Once we all lay down they will leave us alone and not be scared of us.

  • We will be laying in the soft sand to take all the photos, we will be trying not to move around too much so as not to disturb the birds and to allow for a close approach from them.

  • We will be hoping for sunny conditions for more dramatic lighting but if it’s overcast that will still work as you can get nice green backgrounds in many directions.

  • There is also a large shallow pool of water in the area that some of the birds bathe in and if they are doing that we may try to get some photos of that action as well.

  • Some of the chicks have already hatched so there is a chance to get photos of the chicks and possibly them being fed by their parents.


  • Lenses from 300mm to 600mm recommended

  • A ground pod or hand held is recommended since we will be laying on the sand and trying to get the camera as low as possible.

  • If you have a cheap plastic rain sleeve that can help protect your camera from sand.


  • Professional tips and suggestions how to achieve clear, sharp photos of the Least Terns

  • Suggestions for creative use of light and composition which can be fun on the open beach

  • Suggestions of clean background and foreground elements in your photos

  • If it’s sunny I will teach proper use of backlighting techniques

Target Species:


  • Least Terns


  • Least Tern chicks

  • American Oystercatcher

  • Black Skimmer

  • Laughing Gull

  • Herring Gull


  • Great Black-backed Gull

Earlier Event: June 30
Least Terns (maybe chicks) Workshop
Later Event: July 7
Black Skimmers in Flight Workshop