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Least Tern Confirmation


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#1 John Shauger

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:21 PM

Jekyll Island GA, early June. Top photo is two mature & I believe the botton photo is a first summer (baby)
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#2 psweet

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:59 PM

The first two birds are definitely Least -- the second one looks like a 1st summer Common Tern, based on the dark legs and heavy bill.

#3 Grandpa577

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:00 PM

Two adult Least Terns in the first photo - orange bill and white triangle on the forehead pretty much clinch it. The bird in the second photo looks like a first year Least Tern. You would be a better judge of whether the size of all three birds was the same. They are about the same size as a Semipalmated Plover.

#4 John Shauger

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:03 PM

The lower photo is a small tern. Same size as the Least Terns. The young, Least Terns, have very different color bill & legs from the adult.

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#5 Grandpa577

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:17 PM

The lower photo is a small tern. Same size as the Least Terns. The young, Least Terns, have very different color bill & legs from the adult.

If you know the size then it makes the Id much easier.

Sibley shows all stages of the Least Terns as having light colored 'yellowish' legs. Stokes, however says adult winter legs are 'grayish yellow to blackish' and that the first summer birds are 'Like adult winter.'

Maybe its me, but I think if you look carefully at the forehead of the younger bird you can detect the white triangle on the forehead.

#6 psweet

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:27 PM

Yeah, if you're sure of the size then there isn't anything else in N.Am. it could be.

#7 Liam

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 06:09 PM

I'm extremely jealous! I still need to see the Least Terns.

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#8 John Shauger

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 06:29 PM

Liam, I still need the Bonapate Gull. Hopefully this Fall or Winter I'll photo one... or two.

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#9 Liam

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 06:44 PM

Liam, I still need the Bonapate Gull. Hopefully this Fall or Winter I'll photo one... or two.


I found my Bonie on the southeastern shore of Jekyll last November. There was also a Lesser Black-backed Gull present that my brother saw (I managed to miss it, of course.)

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