As hard as this may be to believe, I mis-IDed a bird!  In my last post I IDed a tern as a Forster’s Tern.  I see Forster’s terns here pretty regularly during migrations and I had seen a small flock of 6 or 8 the day before, not far from where I saw this pair and so I didn’t really even try to make a differential identification.  I just assumed they were Forster’s and left it at that.

Today I got a comment on the blog from the regional ebird rep telling me that it wasn’t a Forster’s Tern, it was a Least Tern.  I was surprised for a couple of reasons.

1.  Usually when Mr. Carver emails me it’s because I ID a bird that is common around here as something unusual for the area.  Over the last few years I’ve learned (from Mr. Carver’s patient teaching) that if I have a choice between IDing a bird as something common around here or something rare for the panhandle to go with the more common bird.

2.  It’s a new bird for my list.  Not only that, it’s an endangered bird.  It summers on the Canadian River in Oklahoma and on the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border and other places, but it’s not even marked as a rare visitor for this area in the Sibleys and Audubon guides, although eBird has them in the list for the area.

Anyway, for comparison here’s the Least Tern.  Notice the white forehead and lighter bill with the black tip.Least-tern 1024x655

And here is a Forster’s Tern from earlier this spring.  This bird has a black forehead and a darker orange bill with a black tip.forsters-tern-8-1024x684

Live and learn.

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