Elsie Roemer Terns

Teale Fristoe


Today I went back to Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary. After looking
unsuccessfully for rare shorebirds with Noah Arthur, I started examining
terns. There were far fewer today than there have been my past couple of
visits, with just one Least, two Elegant, a handful of Forster's, and no
Caspians. But there were a couple of interesting individuals present.

The first was an adult Common Tern, which was fairly cooperative and stood
next to a Forster's, allowing close comparison of legs and bill. It
apparently had not started molting and had a complete black cap and nape.

I'm still not sure on the species of the other individual, and I welcome
any thoughts you may have. It first struck me as a juvenile Common because
it has black outer tail feathers and a black nape, but the wing pattern
doesn't look right for a Common. I then thought it might be a stray Arctic
(hey a guy can dream, right?), but the bill looks too big for that. It also
appears to be molting, which I believe only an adult would be doing at this
time of the year. So I now think it's probably a Forster's, though I don't
know how to explain the outer tail feathers.

Photos and a complete list can be seen on ebird.

Again, I'd love to hear feedback on the id of the mystery tern if you're so

Happy migration,
Teale Fristoe

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