Mystery Tern

We saw four terns at Shelter Island on September 20th. At first glance, they seem to be Least Terns which we’ve seen a lot at Batiquitos Lagoon since that is one of their protected breeding grounds. They are the smallest terns you really get around this area and they fly with this agility and speed that I feel aren’t quite matched by other larger terns.

So, when we saw these terns, we both immediately thought Least Terns, of course! Now that I’m back home and looking at the shots though, I’m starting to second guess myself. Mostly, because Least Terns aren’t really known to be in this area of town and because I don’t remember the tops of the wings being so dark. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of a tern next to anything for size comparison so I’m showing all the shots I did get even if they are fuzzy.

I would love some thoughts if you have any. Here is a map of the location that we spotted them.

One thought on “Mystery Tern

  1. limeybirder

    Have you considered they may be Elegant Terns? There is too much white on top of the head for Least Tern, the bill is too long and there is too much black on the wing. Least Terns in Florida have typically left by early September. Hope this helps 😀


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