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The Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) is a seabird of the family Sternidae. Aptly named, it is the smallest specie of only two resident terns here in Singapore. In the breeding season, its bill changes from all black to yellow with a black tip.

The following story happened in Tampines Mountain Biking Trail where I frequented for my macro photography. It all started when my friend spotted two eggs lying on a path of the cycling trail. Words soon spread after he posted the sighting in a local nature forum. I personally counted 20 plus birding photographers descending on the scene in the following days, at different times. It was a secret no more.

A few days later, another egg was laid but the joy was short-lived. First, an egg went missing, then another one ensued. Worried, some photographers began to encircle the solitary egg with rocks, Stonehenge-like. After about 25 days' of anxious wait, a cutest chick spotting a greyish-white with black marking down feathers, was hatched on Father's Day!

This story would be perfect if I could show you pictures of the young tern's first maiden flight, with the proud parent birds hovering above and egging the youngster on. Alas, it was not meant to be. On the eighth day of its hatching, I received a SMS from a friend that the little chick was found dead underneath a rock! There were no witnesses, so no one could say what actually happened for sure.

A few suspected foul play while some said it was just an inevitable incident waiting to happen as the trail was frequented by cyclists, joggers and trekkers. Since day two, the chick had been actively exploring its surroundings. It might have been trampled on by accident and the culprit placed a rock over it in the aftermath. Your guess is as good as mine.

Hatched: 21st June 2009
Departed: 28th June 2009

This gallery is in fond memory of the cute, 8-days old, up-and-running little chick. Life is short indeed. Adious Junior!

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Categories & Keywords
Category:Animals
Subcategory:Birds
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:Aves, Little, Little Tern, Masters of Flight, Tern, animals, belly, bill, bipedal, birds, breast, breeding, class, crown, eggs, endothermic, feathers, flight, flock, habitat, incubated, incubation, lay, mandible, master, migration, nape, nest, tail, tarsus, throat, vertebrate, warm-blooded, winged, wings

It Started with Two Eggs'Pesky cyclist!''Is the coast clear?''One ... two ... Whew! My eggs are safe.''Some peace & quiet at last!'Just Landed 1a (One egg left)Just Landed 1bJust Landed 2aJust Landed 2bA Fish Treat to Celebrate Junior's Day ONEHappy 'Bird-day''Honey, what are all those people looking at!?!'Junior Revealed. Ta-dah!!'Where's the fish?''Go get fish!''I'm hungry! hungry! hungry!''This is just a teeny weeny snack.'Some TLC MomentSeeking Shelter From the SunTaking Cover When Parent Birds Are Not Around