[midvalleybirds] Fwd: Arctic Terns at Philomath sewage ponds this morning

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Mon Sep 16 16:03:36 PDT 2019

Sounds like these birds flew off by the time of this report, but it's a good reminder that this is a good time of year to watch for migrant terns at local water sites. Forster's and Common Terns as mentioned in this report are the other main suspects, but I agree, the points mentioned in this description all fit well with Arctic Tern. 

Cheadle Lake in Lebanon and the (nowadays rarely-birded) Tangent Sewage Ponds and industrial ponds have also been good sites for fall migrant terns in past years. 

It sounds like these birds were flying around but if you happen to see terns at rest, Arctic Terns have noticeably shorter legs than Forster's or Common Terns. "Sterna" terns can be tough to ID and you usually only get a brief look, in our area. So it's definitely good to prep before you go out this time of year. -- joel 

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) (8) CONFIRMED 
- Reported Sep 16, 2019 10:14 by Hendrik Herlyn 
- Philomath Sewage Ponds, Benton, Oregon 
- Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.5201324,-123.3461237&ll=44.5201324,-123.3461237 
- Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59857618 
- Comments: "Doug alerted me to the presence of 8 terns while I was in the SW corner. I quickly drove N and spotted 8 smallish white terns flying off to the west. Didn't get close looks, but birds had long tails, very white wings without much discernible pattern at the distance, black caps, short bills. 
Doug's photo bears out this impression. It shows two very pale Sterna terns with complete dark caps (pretty much ruling out FOTE this time of year), a rather short, rounded head (unlike the elongated head profile of a COTE) with a short, deep red bill (with no or very little dark at the tip), very white underside (as opposed to COTE, which tends to be grayer, at least in adult breeding plumage), wings pale grayish on the upper side, with no sign of a dark wedge, white below with a narrow black trailing edge along the primary tips. Long tails. --> all good field marks for Arctic Tern." 

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