Saturday, October 20, 2012

Arctic? Tern

My dad and I visited Muskegon County today and found an interesting Sterna tern at Pere Marquette Park. I'm under the impression this looks like a juvenile Arctic Tern. That said, I've only seen one juvenile Arctic Tern.

Note: Small, thin bill, white secondaries, very limited dark outer webs to outer retrix. Deeply forked tail.

Note: Very white underwing, extremely limited black on outer retrix.

Note: Very small, thin bill and rounded head.

Lighting was very tough but with back-lighting, the transparent secondaries and inner primaries were evident, although I couldn't get this in a picture. To my eye, everything looks good for an Arctic Tern and I'm struggling to find any pro-Common Tern features. Comments appreciated.


  1. The head shape and bill color (all red) length and shape (thin, short an spiky) and these clearly favor arctic tern. The resulting compact look is good, too.
    What I also like is the dark black, highly-contrasting semi-cap and pattern.
    The wing tips are very clean, and only a very faint trailing edge to primaries, also which a fall Common Tern will not have. Lack of a dark carpal bar is also good here for Arctic.
    I could go on and on about the white secondaries, etc. This appears to me to be an adult Arctic Tern.

  2. Congratulations. Agreed with Kendall this is absolutely ARTE. You nailed it in the third photo.



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  4. Looks just like the ARTE at Ludington.

    Brian Allen