Joined: Jan. 2006
|Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 26 2012,21:41)|
|Tern of unknown species. I suck at terns.|
|Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 29 2012,22:59)|
|Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 29 2012,16:40)|
|subkumquat, those are some pretty sweet shots. The tern looks like a Royal to me, but don't try to take that to the bank. Where'd you shoot him?|
Just noticed this, sorry. Thanks! I shot him in Galveston, TX at a place called Dos Vacas Muertas. I was thinking he was a royal tern, but I truly suck at tern IDs. Too many subtle differences on some of them for me to keep track of and get right. I think there are half a dozen or so tern species found there (Forster's, Caspian, Royal, Sandwich, Gull-billed, and maybe others?), which makes it tough.
Of the species that Peterson's lists there at some point in the year, the orange bill narrows it down to Forster's, Royal, or Caspian. Breeding plumage of the cap are pretty similar in the three.
In the second shot you posted, one side of the tail looks deeply forked, which would indicate Forster's or Royal, but the center and other side of the tail look barely forked at all, which would indicate Caspian. I really can't figure out what's going on with the tail in that shot.
Forster's and Caspian have black on the end of their bill while Royal doesn't, but the damned fish is in the way.
Neither shot really gives any sense of size, so the Forster's smaller size doesn't really help.
I wouldn't bet either way on the upper wing vs. under wing colors (they're apparently opposite in Royals and Caspians) because of the angle and shadows.
If I really had to take my best shot, something about the curl of the tail in the second shot leads me to think "forked", and I'd go with Royal. But again, don't bet the ranch on that.
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. - carlsonjok - deprecated
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