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Last 2 Terns


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#1 Melissa :)

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 05:33 PM

These ones have been confusing me the most. The tern with the black bill does not have a forked tail like Common or Forsters... and the tern with the reddish beak was fairly large. Any ideas?

1) Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

2) Posted Image

Thanks!

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#2 Liam

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:31 PM

No comment on 1, but 2 looks nice for Royal.

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#3 psweet

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:01 PM

Agreed -- no idea on 1, Royal for 2.

#4 Melissa :)

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:22 PM

Could #1 be a Gull-billed by any chance, with the non-forked tail?? They are actually said to be seen in a park nearby... I have a list of the terns and when they are seen around here:

Gull-billed: rare in spring, but seen nearby (or so I'm told!)
Caspian: common in spring and fall, uncommon in summer
Royal: common in spring and fall, occasional in summer
Sandwich: rare in spring and summer
Roseate: rare in spring
Common: common in spring summer and fall
Forsters: common in spring summer and fall
Least: uncommon in spring summer and fall

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#5 Melissa :)

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:10 AM

Even if #1 is unidentifiable, can anyone else confirm Royal Tern for the second? It would be a lifer! :)

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#6 Joejr14

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:25 AM

Agree w. Royal for the 2nd tern.

#7 Melissa :)

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:32 AM

Thanks!! Is #1 just at a bad angle?? Just curious, cause I could be on the look out for another one later.

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#8 Joejr14

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:40 AM

Thanks!! Is #1 just at a bad angle?? Just curious, cause I could be on the look out for another one later.


Yes, it's a tough angle. None of the pictures clearly show the entire head, though some show parts. I think the tail is the other tough part.

For what it's worth, I have a feeling it's a Common Tern.

#9 Melissa :)

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:41 AM

Do some Common Terns not have forked tails?

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#10 Melissa :)

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:43 AM

This probably won't help much, but this is my last photo:
Posted Image

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#11 Grandpa577

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:33 AM

Do some Common Terns not have forked tails?

Common Terns, Forster's Terns and Gull-billed Terns have tails where the outer two feathers are longer than the other tail feathers. (Forster's are usually considerably longer.) When the tail is partially opened - 'forked' would be applied to Common and Forster's and 'notched' to Gull-billed. However, when a Common Tern has its tail completely fanned out, (particularly when it is hovering) all the tail feathers, other than the outer two, appear to be of near equal length. If the outer two feathers are damaged or are not distinct in the photo the tail will look like the first and second shots you have of the first tern.

A non-breeding Common and Forster's Tern will have a black bill. It will appear longer but thinner than that of a Gull-billed. At a local beach where there are hundreds of breeding Common Terns there is one non-breeding bird (black bill, partial black on head), presumably a first summer tern.

I agree with Joe, its very hard to get a definitive id based on the first three shots. If there is a full cap on the head and the bill is indeed, black , it would rule out Common and Forster's Terns. If the back of the head is white, it would rule out Gull-billed Tern which has a solid black cap when in breeding (alternate) plumage and a mottled black cap when in basic plumage.

#12 Melissa :)

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:26 PM

Thanks for the help guys!!! Its greatly appreciated!! :)

I have just one more question: is there any way to tell the difference using the coloring on the wings? I looked around at other pictures, and it looks like only Gull-billed have the black dark gray block on the wing tip while the rest it light gray, and the Common Tern seems to (sometimes) have the black edge but no clear distinguish between the dark gray and light gray, if any. Is an ID possible from this?

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#13 wildfelco

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:01 AM

1st one gave me the impression of Common




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