Possible Arctic Tern

Subject: Possible Arctic Tern
From: "" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 15:37:14 +0800
Hi all,

I know this sounds like a long shot, but today I was at the Waterbird Refuge in Sydney Olympic Park and I watched a tern which at first I thought was a Common Tern, but when I got home my Pizzey & Knight proved me wrong.
I was able to watch the bird for about 10 minutes and during this time I think I picked up most of its features:

Smallish, size of a Common Tern.
Very bouyant, almost bouncy flight. Flying about 2-3m above the mud about 50m from the hide.
Bright red bill and feet and with an almost full black cap extending to the nape.
Completely white apart from cap and slightly grey-toned wings.

Constantly flying around above the the lake/mud about 50m from the hide and on the western side. Occasionally dipped down for food, but didn't seem to pay any attention to the other birds.

My Pizzey & Knight makes me think its an Arctic Tern, but like I said its a bit of a long shot. Maybe the strong winds had something to do with it???

Other birds around include: 2-3 Bar-tailed Godwits, plenty of Fairy and Tree Martins, Black-shouldered Kites, White-bellied Sea Eagle and a White-necked Heron.

Thanks in advance for any advice or ideas.

Max Breckenridge,
Gladesville, Sydney...


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