Monday, October 31, 2011

warm Arctic air

South winds bring Arctic Terns, who knew? I spent the morning at Tiscornia; I'd been home about 20 minutes when Tim called that he had an Arctic Tern. It was nice to have the bird at Tiscornia, it never really felt right to only have the bird at Three Oaks.
Unlike the Sabine's I whiffed on chasing earlier in the fall, Tim had the bird at water's edge when I arrived.
The white secondaries showed nicely in the sun.
At rest, the key points to separate it from Commons are the shorter bill, shorter legs, and more extensive dark cap. That being said, it would take a good look to call an Arctic at rest by itself.
You can somewhat compare the leg length at least with the Common in the background.
This is a photo that probably hasn't been taken many times in Michigan, Arctic on the left, Common in the middle, and Forster's on the right.
The trailing edge of the underwing has only a minimal gray trailing edge. About twice as much of the feather is a darker gray in Common Tern.
Another view of those white secondaries and the generous hood...
Twice it gagged up some mucus, I'm not sure if this is a common behaviour in medium terns or not.Check out how the wind is blowing it back, not even touching the ground.
Assuming the MBRC searchable database is up-to-date, this is the 20th state record and the 6th county record. The most recent Michigan record was the Three Oaks bird.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Terrific post, Matt! Congratulations.