Tern Update

I heard from our Regional reviewer this evening that my entry of Forster’s Tern has not been accepted by ebird.  He was able to site several reasons that the bird was in actuality a Common Tern.  The bird is a very specific age, a hatch year juvenile, that shows the combination of characteristics that this bird displays.  The white forehead, carpal bar in wing and paler underwing with slight dark edging, orange bill, the back color which is difficult to assess except in the last photo from the second day, all indicate a juvenile Common Tern.  While I love terns, my expertise is still wanting with these birds.  I just don’t get enough exposure to them.  My apologies for the mis-identification.

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4 Responses to Tern Update

  1. Kathleen Ashman says:

    How disappointing for you, John! When the variations between species and juvenile birds are so subtle and the bird is in flight It must become increasingly difficult to make an ID. Wish for your sake that it would have been a Forster’s Tern.

  2. Thanks Kathy. I’ve never had this plumage/stage of Common Tern in the county before, and is the least likely stage for me to see. I see many in Florida each November, but they are already past this stage or a different age. It won’t be my last mistake. Thanks again.

  3. Ken McDermott says:


    This avocation that we call “birding” gives us GREAT enjoyment and one of the truly great aspects of it is that we continue to learn. How great that is for all of us. If we were in a position to know everything about everything – – – – what would we do? All the fun would be gone. I get a lot of laughs out of MY ooopppsss, and they come often enough that I don’t stop smiling. Keep birding – You’re DAMN GOOD!!!!!

  4. Thanks Ken, I appreciate your words of wisdom ! As always, you’re the best! John

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