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Wintertime Tern Help


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I'd appreciate some others taking a look at this Tern form today. On an area lake in North Central Texas around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It stood out from all of the Forster's in the area. My first thought was Common as it still had a black cap, the tail didn't seem to extend beyond the wingtips and the legs appeared shorter, but no carpal bar and light primaries as opposed to dark that I would expect on a COTE. 

Thought maybe just a FOTE that was slowing molting head feathers, but those I have seen in the past have more of a grey cap on top in those instances. Possibly a hybrid FOTE x COTE? Or another species I am not considering? Or just a FOTE I'm making much ado about nothing over? Any thoughts are appreciated! 

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4 minutes ago, Tanager 101 said:

To me the bill looks a little too long and thin for a Gull-billed Tern. 

It’s hard to judge from these photos. Winter Forster’s look like this https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/118676961

 

i think it’s gull billed in breeding plumage. Does anyone know why it’s in breeding plumage in January? @DLecy?

Edited by IKLland
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7 minutes ago, IKLland said:

It’s hard to judge from these photos. Winter Forster’s look like this https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/118676961

 

i think it’s gull billed in breeding plumage. Does anyone know why it’s in breeding plumage in January? @DLecy?

I see some birds in January on ebird show the breeding plumage. Why do some have it now but some don’t? https://ebird.org/media/catalog?taxonCode=gubter1&mr=MCUSTOM&mediaType=p&emo=1
 

@Tanager 101 no offense meant at all, I’m just trying to help your ID skills. Since it’s not Forster’s, what else could it really be?

also, if Forster’s can be in breeding plumage now also, they have an orange bill with a black tip.

Edited by IKLland
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5 minutes ago, IKLland said:

 

@Tanager 101 no offense meant at all, I’m just trying to help your ID skills.

Hey totally fine. I'm not offended. There is always room for improvement. I was just stating what I thought it was. besides, debating can be fun. It's not like I will always be right. About the terns though. There are terns at Bay City State Park for a lot of the year, so I get good looks at them. Maybe I can pull up some photos some other time, but there are some interesting birds. Some will be in winter plumage while some are completely still in summer. One thing I've noticed is the bill and cap don't always change at the same time. I think I should have some photos of this, I'd have to look. Most of my photos aren't on this device except through ebird, but I didn't put them all on there I don't think. I am not totally sure I have forster's though. I should have common though. I looked at some photos and I see what your saying about the Gull-billed. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/295714341 Here is a Forster's from Texas that still mostly has it's cap (although the bill color is changed already. https://ebird.org/checklist/S95477594 Here is a checklist of mine from Bay City State Park. If you look through the Common Terns you can a least see that they are not all in the same plumage. Still looking for Forster's photos.

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looks like I've hardly put any Forster's photos on ebird. I'll have to check my SD card some other time.

Actually the Forster's in the photo from my checklist has the hood changed but not the bill. It is the other way around from what I was looking for though.

Edited by Tanager 101
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11 hours ago, Tanager 101 said:

Hey totally fine. I'm not offended. There is always room for improvement. I was just stating what I thought it was. besides, debating can be fun. It's not like I will always be right. About the terns though. There are terns at Bay City State Park for a lot of the year, so I get good looks at them. Maybe I can pull up some photos some other time, but there are some interesting birds. Some will be in winter plumage while some are completely still in summer. One thing I've noticed is the bill and cap don't always change at the same time. I think I should have some photos of this, I'd have to look. Most of my photos aren't on this device except through ebird, but I didn't put them all on there I don't think. I am not totally sure I have forster's though. I should have common though. I looked at some photos and I see what your saying about the Gull-billed. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/295714341 Here is a Forster's from Texas that still mostly has it's cap (although the bill color is changed already. https://ebird.org/checklist/S95477594 Here is a checklist of mine from Bay City State Park. If you look through the Common Terns you can a least see that they are not all in the same plumage. Still looking for Forster's photos.

No I’m not sure. Sorry about the confusion! @DLecy @Connor Cochrane?

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11 hours ago, Tanager 101 said:

Hey totally fine. I'm not offended. There is always room for improvement. I was just stating what I thought it was. besides, debating can be fun. It's not like I will always be right. About the terns though. There are terns at Bay City State Park for a lot of the year, so I get good looks at them. Maybe I can pull up some photos some other time, but there are some interesting birds. Some will be in winter plumage while some are completely still in summer. One thing I've noticed is the bill and cap don't always change at the same time. I think I should have some photos of this, I'd have to look. Most of my photos aren't on this device except through ebird, but I didn't put them all on there I don't think. I am not totally sure I have forster's though. I should have common though. I looked at some photos and I see what your saying about the Gull-billed. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/295714341 Here is a Forster's from Texas that still mostly has it's cap (although the bill color is changed already. https://ebird.org/checklist/S95477594 Here is a checklist of mine from Bay City State Park. If you look through the Common Terns you can a least see that they are not all in the same plumage. Still looking for Forster's photos.

Just realized something. Forster’s have orange legs all year. Gull billed have black legs. It’s hard to completely judge from these photos, but the legs APPEAR black, which supports gull billed. 

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10 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Just realized something. Forster’s have orange legs all year. Gull billed have black legs. It’s hard to completely judge from these photos, but the legs APPEAR black, which supports gull billed. 

Gee, legs look orange to me

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