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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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Posted (edited)

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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