Sunday, April 20, 2014

Name That Tern !‏

Caspian, sandwich and royal terns at Sump Pass

A group of terns sitting on the beach at Stump Pass provided a nice clinic on identification.  Can you distinguish the three species of terns shown?

In the foreground there is a single Caspian tern which is larger and has a heavier, red bill with a dark tip. The eight royal terns in the background are common on local beaches and their bills are more slender and generally orange.  The wing tips of the Caspian are darker and it is much rarer along the coast and tends to be found in fresh water areas except during winter migration.  The smaller tern just to the left of the Caspian with a light bill tip is a sandwich tern.  

So after having passed the "Tern 101" class go out to the beaches and study!

Bill Dunson

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