Re: (Im)possible Gull-billed Tern at upper end of American Falls reservoir ...

John Shortis

Maybe these photos would help Jay.
I notice that the bird's tail is gray above, did you notice that on your bird?
Coincidentally, two of this species were seen in the UK last week, the bird is rare there also but seen a few times most years.

John Shortis 

On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 03:27:44 PM MDT, Jay Carlisle via <carlislejay@...> wrote:


Yeah, it’s quite out of range - thus my surprise/disbelief!

I’ve seen many hundreds of Gull-billed in southern US states and Latin America ... just wasn’t expecting it here.

No additional sightings today.  Surveyed on McTucker this AM (only Forster’s & Caspian plus Ring-billed & Franklin’s gulls) & just spent 20 minutes at Am Falls dam - no terns, just Ring-billed & Franklin’s gulls and a surprise male RB Merganser 😁

On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 12:44 PM, Larry Arnold <larnold47@...> wrote:

well geeeze, I see a couple of nearby reports in eBird, like.......

San Francisco CA, a mere 700 mi LOS, but can a GBTE fly a straight line?   ;-)


Liberal KS, a mere 800 miles LOS, if it flew straight

intriguing....  but does the person reporting have much experience with GBTE, like with their flight pattern and foraging strategy...?

From: "Jay Carlisle via" <carlislejay@...>
To: "IBLE" <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 2020 6:08:07 AM
Subject: [IBLE] (Im)possible Gull-billed Tern at upper end of American Falls reservoir ...

A torturous one here...  I’m helping the Intermountain Bird Observatory YB Cuckoo survey crew and last night ~815pm we were on McTucker Island when I saw a medium-sized tern with a thick black bill flew by heading downriver towards the reservoir.  More description in this eBird list - I have it under “tern sp.” as I’m struggling to believe it myself but I can’t make it into any other tern species \uD83E\uDD14\uD83E\uDD14.  Back on McTucker now & just had 3 Forster’s - a very different look & build.

I’ll plan to look above and below the dam tomorrow after surveys and before heading back to Boise & figured I’d post this looooong shot for anyone birding the area to keep their eyes peeled.

Based on plumage, it was most similar to a non-breeding adult in Sibley - only some small dark “ear” patches, not a full black cap.

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