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I was surprised to see what I thought were gulls on the lake at this time of year. When I got the shots on a bigger screen, I don't think I've seen these birds here before. Taken August 10, 2018, at Cranfield COE Park on Lake Norfork. North Central Arkansas. They were hanging around the swimming beach.

https://flic.kr/p/28TRqmA

https://flic.kr/p/LejrBc

https://flic.kr/p/LejrE8

 

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Why not Forster's? They look okay for that species to me, especially the one perched in the 2nd photo. FOTE should be more likely inland also.

Edited by akiley

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This is really a question to further my own learning: I think I see black on the back of the head of the birds in flight in shots 1 and 3. Does the black on a non-breeding Forster's actually wrap around the back head like that? I thought the black on FOTE was generally restricted to big eye patches, creating the impression of a mask.

I get that FOTE is less uncommon inland (and an ebird search bears this out). So could it just be incomplete molt on the bird in flight, with it's wrap-around black head and white crown?

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