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Papa Tom

What Gull: Arctic? Forsters?

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1714342142_WhatGull.jpg.9367bca2395c64a57221bf36b85c4cba.jpgSeen at Oneida Lake in Central New York State. White forehead and black bill is consistent with Artic or Forsters Gull.

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Looks like a Common Tern. The bill's too large for Arctic and there's too much black on the crown for a September Forster's.

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And the wing pattern is wrong for both Arctic and Forster's in September.  Note that the bird is actively molting (see pic), indicated by the half-length third or fourth primary.  Just that is enough to rule out Arctic, which molts on the winter grounds.  Additionally, since the outer primaries are obviously darker than the inner primaries, one can rule out Forster's, as the only Forster's that can show that pattern so strongly are one-year-olds in spring and some adults in mid-winter.

The bill is also too small to be that of a Forster's.

cote.jpg

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