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I’m assuming people are referring to the middle terN in the first photo. 

First, notice that it’s surrounded by Least Terns, and appears to be the same size as them. This alone rules anything else out, except Black Tern which is pretty small as well, but Black Tern plumage is different.

Also if you zoom in, it does have a white forehead. I agree it’s a lot of black on the head for a Least Tern, but I still think it’s a Least Tern.


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On 6/12/2020 at 8:09 PM, Skipickos said:

50,000! Thats a win for today!! 

Thanks! The black bar on the wing had me leaning common... Black terns a lifer tho! 🙂

Knowing field marks is good. Knowing which species that such rule out AND which they don't, is better. As example. Most birders in the West "know" that the gray rump of Chipping Sparrow is diagnostic. However, it's not. It's diagnostic at ruling out Clay-colored and Brewer's, but it does not rule out Field nor Black-chinned, nor American Tree, though that species is no longer in Spizella. The bird in question in that first pic is the same size as all of the Least Terns in the pic, thus ruling out anything other than Least or Little terns. Or Saunder's? Is that one of the tiny ones?

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