No Jill, I have not been sweating over some commic terns, and my thinking
has not been influenced by your doubts. Having first identified one
White-fronted Tern on Bribie in June, I've seen several groups of commics
since. When I've made the effort to get close enough to interrogate them,
I've found both White-fronted and Common involved. I hoped that sharing my
thought processes with you might help you to identify some at Caloundra.
I have a query, though, which is why I'm copying everyone. The literature
would have us believe that most White-fronted Terns that visit us are young
birds, with adults preferring to remain in NZ. In an earlier email to Jill
I wrote "...and it showed a really pale underwing - the clincher. Finally,
another bird flew in which capped it all - a non-breeding plumaged adult, or
an extremely advanced immature bird perhaps, showing the very pale upper and
lower wings, and mantle." Could this have been a young bird, or is such an
advanced plumage out of the question at this time of year (28/7)? And what
percentage of White-fronted Terns in Australia in the winter are, in fact,
adults? Would these perhaps all be from our small breeding colony?
Jill's enthusiasm for terns is contagious. They're not waders but they're
still a lot of fun!
BTW - The metal band was on the lower right leg of the Caspian Tern (I've
Cheers - Trevor.