Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)
I returned to Allen pond today to travel with one of the naturalists, Anna, who works on the shorebirds survey to see and count the piping plovers and were other shorebirds, and terns, there may be on the beach at Allens Pond.  Starting out, we first stop that the pannes, where Anna got her best look at the King Rail.  As we walked down the beach, we came across a good number of adult, fledged and piping plover chicks.  Other shorebirds included Willits, Semipalmated sandpipers and the usual gulls.  We walked down to the end of little beach across from the spit, where we noticed a large bird alongside a Herring Gull.  The unknown bird, which appeared to be a tern, had a black head with a crest, the bill was orange and black legs.  I obtained some photographs and when I looked on the computer at the pictures, it appeared to be a Royal Tern.  Royal Terns are common along the southern United States coast, the Gulf coast, and lower California into Baja Mexico.  Checking E-bird, there was only one previous sighting noted for the Westport-Dartmouth area and that was in August 2011 what a nice find, even though it is not a life bird, because I have previously seen Royal Terns in Florida, California and the Baja.
It eventually flew off, flying toward Barney's Joy.

Comparison of the Size of the Royal Tern with a Herring Gull