Juvenile Whiskered Terns

After a spring with exceptionally high water levels in the temporary salt lakes of the Seewinkel, some bird species in the national park were breeding in very good or even record numbers (e.g. Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Black-winged Stilt etc.). The huge breeding success is now particularly visible in the Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida), which started to breed in the region (and Austria) only in 2009 with then around 40 breeding pairs (Dvorak et al. 2010, Egretta 51; 51-59). Around 300 pairs were counted breeding in 2015 (B. Wendelin & M. Dvorak in lit.; exact number yet to be figured out) and their noisey and often confiding offspring can now be seen in many places, when birdwatching in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel area. The youngsters already fly and hunt on their own, but do still beg their parents for food.
The photos below were taken some days ago, minutes before the first heavy rain for weeks, which marked the sudden but long-awaited end of a searing heatwave here in eastern Austria with daytime temperatures constantly above 33°C.