Nickerson Beach Nassau County Long Island

The gorgeous breeding plumaged BLACK TERN at Nickerson Beach

The gorgeous breeding plumaged BLACK TERN at Nickerson Beach


First Summer Arctic Tern at Nickerson Beach

First Summer Arctic Tern at Nickerson Beach


Today, Bill Fiero and I traveled to Nickerson Beach on Long Island to try for the abundance of terns that have been being seen recently. We arrived to find many birders searching the masses of Common Terns for something special. Sy Schiff met us there to help give some pointers on what has been seen. He informed us that Royal Tern, Black Tern and Roseate Terns had all been seen early and flown out. We searched for well over an hour when someone alerted everyone that a BLACK TERN had flown in. It was a beautiful breeding plumaged adult bird. It spent quite a bit of time preening and walking among the tern flock. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the huge Black Skimmer and breeding Common Terns in the upper beach area flushed, flying in tremendous numbers. The beach terns all joined them and it took quite a while for them all to settle down again. Once they did, the Black Tern was gone. We continued searching, coming up with no other species at all. We decided to break for lunch and went into Point Lookout for a sandwich. Upon our return, we were surprised to find that all the other birders had left. Bill and I began our search again. After about 15 minutes, I spotted an unusual tern. It was short legged, round headed, short thin black billed, with pale primaries and a pale carpal bar. I immediately thought it might be an ARCTIC TERN, But I had never seen this age Arctic Tern before. We studied it and took many photos. Lloyd Spitalnik came along and we all discussed the bird at length. I became pretty sure it was an Arctic, but we still couldn’t be positive. We all took many more photos before the entire flock was flushed again. We waited for them to settle, but couldn’t find the tern in question again. We finally pulled ourselves away to make the long trip home. Upon my return, I uploaded my photos and was quite sure it was an Arctic. I sent eight of the photos to Shai Mitra, the expert on these terns. He got back to me quite quickly, informing me that I was indeed correct, it was a first summer Arctic Tern. He gave me a few more field marks that cinched the identification for me to use in the future. Thanks Shai! One reason I was so excited to find this bird and ensure its identity is the fact that it is my 400th New York State bird! A milestone that has taken me 23 years to achieve! Thanks to Bill, Sy, Lloyd and Shai for helping make this a great birding day! Other birds of interest we saw at the beach and nearby marsh were Yellow-crowned Night-heron, Piping Plover, Laughing Gull, Boat-tailed Grackle and Osprey.
First Summer ARCTIC TERN (back) with three Common Terns

First Summer ARCTIC TERN (back) with three Common Terns


ARCTIC TERN

ARCTIC TERN


Arctic Tern - note the rounded head, pale primaries, short legs, short thin black bill and extensive black mask.

Arctic Tern – note the rounded head, pale primaries, short legs, short thin black bill and extensive black mask.

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14 Responses to Nickerson Beach Nassau County Long Island

  1. Maryangela Buskey says:

    Congrats on #400 John!

  2. Deb Kral says:

    Congratulations, John!!!!! Isn’t Nickerson Beach quite wonderful ~

  3. 400! Wow! Congratulations, John. And great shots of the bird to boot!

  4. Karen C M says:

    Awesome Mr. Haas! Fantastic day for you! Congrats.

  5. scott baldinger says:

    Way to go John!! Congrats on the milestone!
    Scott

  6. Jim says:

    A great Milestone !

  7. Linda Scrima says:

    Hi John, just saw this post and wanted to congratulate you on #400! That s a nice accomplishment!

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