Monday, July 25, 2016

Forster’s vs Common Tern

I took the first photo at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on 28 March. In the field, due to the white windows in the upper wing, I identified it as a Forster’s Tern. But when the file came out of my camera, I was less sure. The bill and feet seemed too red. On the other hand, I think I see a white leading edge to the outer tail feather—a Forster’s Tern field mark.

On 18 May, back in Minnesota, at Lake Byllesby, I saw three terns that were clearly Common. Look at the gray underparts that contrast with its white cheeks. Moreover, the outer edge of the outer primary appears to be black—clearly a Common Tern. I also became a whole lot more confident of my previous Forster’s Tern identification.

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