BIRD 6

Bird Watching (UK) - - May Id Challenge -

Our last tern should not be too tricky to iden­tify, should it? The fact that much of the bird is in shadow does mean the num­ber of fea­tures on show is some­what lim­ited. How­ever, the im­me­di­ate im­pres­sion is that this is a sea tern (not a marsh tern) and that the lim­ited amount of up­per wing is pale. Most strik­ing is the long, thick yet pointed black bill with an ob­vi­ous bright yel­low tip. This fea­ture in it­self ought to be enough to guide you to the right con­clu­sion, as it is unique among our terns. The tail is also a good clue, be­ing on the short side, giv­ing a front heavy ap­pear­ance to the bird. The com­bi­na­tion of short-tail, front-heavy struc­ture, pale plumage and long black bill with a yel­low tip must surely lead to the con­clu­sion that this can only be a Sand­wich Tern.

KEY FEA­TURES †Pale wings †Rel­a­tively large head and short tail †Long bill is black with a yel­low tip

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