How’s your tern ID? August 19, 2013

Posted by GGAS in Birding

Here’s a chance to test your tern I.D. skills!

San Francisco photographer Lee-Hong Chang took pictures of five species of tern in the Bay Area over the past few months. Can you identify them all?

(There are more than one photo of each species. Answers at the bottom.)

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

Photo by Lee-Hong Chang

 

Answers:

Photos 1 & 2 – California Least Terns at Hayward Regional Shoreline, June and July 2013.
Photo 3 – Forster’s Tern at Heron’s Head Park in SF, showing winter plumage with white cap.

Photo 4  - Forster’s Tern at San Leandro Marina in April 2013, highlighting its deeply forked tail and summer plumage with full black cap. The beak appears uncharacteristically black because it was covered in mud.

Photo 5  - Elegant Tern flock at Ocean Beach in San Francisco in July 2013, showing  transition in field marks going from summer to winter and the large number of birds migrating.

Photo 6 – Elegant Tern at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, July 2013.

Photo 7 – Caspian Tern at Agua Vista P{ark in San Fra ncisco, June 2013.

Photo 8 – Caspian, Elegant and Forster’s terns taken at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco, August 2013, to show size variation in these three terns. Black Tern is smaller than Forster’s Tern, and Least Tern is smaller than Black Tern.

Photos 9 & 10 – Black Tern, taken at a salt pond near Moffett Field in Mountain View, August 2013. Two views of the same bird, a young bird with smoky black body and wings.

For more on tern ID, see Cornell’s All About Birds overview page on gulls, terns and skimmers.

———————————–

Lee-Hong Chang is an an Information Technology professional living in San Francisco, currently teaching IT courses at a university in Fremont. He started birding more than a year ago, and finds that photographing birds helps him learn bird identification. You can see more of his photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhchang.

Tags: Bay Area birds, bird photography, birding, Black Tern, Caspian Tern, Elegant Tern, Forster's Tern, Least Tern, Lee-Hong Chang, terns.

Comments

  1. Evelyn Jo Wilson
    August 21st, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    There is still a very large flock of Elegant Terns roosting on Ocean Beach right now (Aug. 21, 2013), at about Fulton Ave. All different phases, plus juveniles. Getting ready to migrate, I imagine.

  2. GGAS
    August 21st, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing this sighting!