Bird Watching (UK) - - May Id Challenge -

This is one of those terns which in the bad old days, bird­watch­ers may have been tempted to call a ‘Com­mic’ tern (see p60); be­ing a grey winged, white-tailed, black-capped tern with a red bill. We can see enough in the photo to go fur­ther, how­ever. Per­haps most ob­vi­ous is the blood red bill which is quite short and lacks any black. The next thing to note is that the wings are uni­formly pat­terned, lack­ing any smudg­ing or ‘dark wedges’ in the pri­maries and al­most show­ing a translu­cent ‘win­dow’ in the hand. The tail stream­ers are long, but not ex­cep­tion­ally so. Fi­nally, the un­der­parts, though in shade, do look grey, giv­ing a ‘white-cheeked’ ef­fect. Com­bined these fea­tures all con­firm that this bird is an a Arc­tic Tern.

KEY FEA­TURES †’Com­mic’ tern pat­tern of grey wings, black cap and red bill †Tail stream­ers quite long (many are longer) †Short bill is blood red with no black tip †Wings look very ‘clean’, lack­ing ‘dark wedge’ in pri­maries

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