Pectoral Sandpiper and Common Tern

Nick Belardes <nickbelardes@...>

Took a bit of waiting—a Common Tern did show up this morning on Morro Strand State Beach, joining a flock of Elegant Terns. This was around 8:45 a.m. just south of Alva Paul Creek Mouth where a Pectoral Sandpiper foraged with sandpipers, phalaropes, etc.

Extreme fog covered the beach, making for poor lighting, and with a tern that didn’t have as striking dark scapulars as I’ve seen in other photos, made me really look at other field marks that could indicate Common Tern. Some red in bill, brown on wings, back, nape and crown. And of course it did have hints of those dark scapulars.

I’m new to finding these birds on the beach, so made for quite a fun challenge. Persistence and patience, especially in waiting for the terns to form a cohesive ground flock that would attract such a tern, was key.

Happy birding!

Nicholas Belardes
San Luis Obispo