Showing posts from June, 2013

1st Summer Arctic Tern - Cupsogue Beach County Park

I came across another Arctic Tern on 6/5/13, at Cupsogue Beach County Park. A 1st Summer type individual that put on quite a show and I watched intently. I first noted the bird sitting along the edge of a large group of Common Terns. Also in the mix were a few Forster’s and Roseate Terns. The Arctic Tern exhibited uniform grey primaries, as they always do and this was one of the first major keys that tipped me off on the bird. This, along with a more rounded head shape, extensive black on cap dipping beneath the birds eye, and seemingly shorter black bill pointed directly Arctic Tern. The bird was standing on a firm surface of sand, therefore the short leg length was obvious and apparent. After about 15 minutes of viewing, the bird took off toward the east marsh, showed off its wing pattern and lent a few squeaky call notes. The bird took a 5 minute hiatus, returned to the flats, and decided to land within 20 feet of me! The tern continued to loaf and preen for quite a while before it…

Weekend Highlight - Arctic Tern

It was a fairly long week at work, even though Monday was a holiday it still felt long. All I could think about was waking up early on Saturday and birding the flats at Cupsogue Beach County Park to study some terns. I really wanted to find an Arctic Tern, the furthest traveling migrant in the world. Arctic Terns breed in the Arctic and spend their winters in Antarctica making roughly up to a 44, 000 mile round trip per year. The majority of their migration takes place over open sea, where their buoyant, seemingly effortless wing beats carry them across the ocean. Every year, a handful of Long Island birders get lucky enough to view these birds as they touch down on the island for a quick rest stop. 

On 5/20/13, I finally got to study my first, real life Arctic Terns out on the flats at Cupsogue Beach with Shai Mitra. Despite the rolling fog I was able to make out the 2 individuals that Shai had found, both subtly differing from one another. Having Shai’s expert commentary on the sidel…