Re: ComicTern

To: "Bob Forsyth" <>
Subject: Re: ComicTern
From: "Jon Wren" <>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 23:15:13 +1000
I believe you could add a comment about the White winged Black Terns method of flight being quite distinctive "erratic, buoyant flight".
Gooday birding-aussers, Thought this may interest you all. It is great to be able to read back through old diaries they certainly rekindle the memories.
Further to the Artic Tern issue, and ABW March 1980 Vol 8 No 5.
 I dug up Bill Whaymans diary and wish to share this with you.
"Esplanade Cairns Qld. 3 December 1979.
Jon spotted a small tern in a resting position at a distance of some 100ft in company with a few Little Terns and assorted waders. We noticed that the tail of this bird appeared to extend beyond the wing tips. Comparing the bird with nearby Little Tern we estimated a length of some 13 ins.
The forehead showed a fairly large area of white and the crown was blackish. Below the crown showed whitish and the upper wings appeared to be brownish-grey. The bill could have been blackish- certainly dark in colour- the legs unfortunately, were hidden. As the bird took off the rump showed white.
Jon after checking various publications and comparing against his own findings, feels this bird could be an Artic Tern (Winter phase).
At the time I am inclined to agree and we decided to work on this theory if and when we got another sighting.
We realise that this species is way off its known flight migration path but to a species with proven record distances it would not be impossible to change its route if so required."
"Esplanade Cairns. 5 December 1979
Had three sightings- unfortunately again brief of our new Tern in flight.
Very little to add except that on the second sighting I noticed that the upper tail, back and rump appeared white and the upper wing showed in sunlight as an ashy brown.
I have now decided to include the Common Tern as a contender as I understand that this species and the Artic are extremely difficult to separate in the field. The Common could pass through this area. We must now keep our fingers crossed for further sightings." End
Jon Wren
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