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Coastal Brunswick County, southeastern NC, June 17th and 19th.  All are over brackish waters - tidal estuaries, inlets, or Intercoastal Waterway.

I'm thinking Royal with the more deeply notched tail over Caspian.  I also see a pale tip to the bill.  But orange-billed / black-footed terns are still a challenge for me.


1. Same adult



2. Same immature



3. Multiple immatures



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Absolutely. Bills too orange for CATE and, really, any other species that might occur there. Head pattern also rules out CATE, as does the underwing pattern. The bill size and shape and the underwing pattern rules out ELTE and the bill color, size, and shape, as well as the underwing pattern, rule out Cayenne Tern.

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