Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2004-05b
|Scientific name:||Sterna antillarum|
|Date:||April 21, 2004|
|Time:||Approx. 4:30 or 5:00 P.M.|
|Length of time observed:||Off and on for about 5 minutes|
|Location:||Lee Kay Ponds near the Salt Lake City garbage dump west of SLC|
|Elevation:||Approx. 4300 ft.|
|Distance to bird:||Approx. 75 to 100 yards|
|Optical equipment:||Bausch and Lomb spotting scope with zoom lens @ 15-25 x plus 8 x 30 binoculars|
|Weather:||Slightly overcast, but light was sufficient; had rained during the day.|
|Light Conditions:||Sufficient; from the west|
|Detailed description of bird:||
When I first saw the bird it was on the ground on a dirt road between two of the
Head: black cap and nape with a white forehead
Back: slightly darker than underparts (very light gray)
Legs: didn't see because it was sitting on the dirt.
Flight: When it flew it appeared mostly white with a slightly forked tail. The flight was buoyant, not quite as direct as a Forester's Tern. I did not notice the two black primaries because the flight was of short duration and away from me. It then setteled down along the shore line a greater distance away and didn't fly again while I was there.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||None heard|
|Behavior:||As mentioned, it sat in the dirt and then flew a short distance and then sat down again.|
|Habitat:||Ponds near a garbage dump.|
were they eliminated:
Size: I had seen a Forester's Tern just about five minutes before at one of the
ponds to the west of where this one was. I was able to mentally compare the size
of each and this one was smaller, especially when it flew.
Black Tern: Slightly larger, but during this time of the year it would be mostly black. This Least Tern was mostly white.
Common and Forester's Terns both have black caps; however, they are both larger than this one was. There is no white in the foreheads of
these two terns and their bills are red. This gull that we observed had a distinctly yellow-colored bill.
The Aleutian Gull has a black cap and a white forehead, but the bill is black. Besides, the range is another matter.
Caspian Tern is much larger with a blood red bill.
this & similar species:
I have seen all the species I listed above. Saw the Least Tern in two places in
Utah last year.
|References consulted:||Sibley's Field Guide to Western Birds and National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 3rd Ed.|
|Description from:||From: From memory|
|Observer's address:||1063 East 400 North Orem, Utah 84097|
|Observer's e-mail address:||email@example.com|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||
Bruce Robinson and a married couple from SLC whose names (I think) were Cindy
and Steve. Not sure of last name.
|Date prepared:||April 23, 2004 (General Public)|
|Additional comments:||When I pulled up to the site Bruce and the other two had their scope set up on this bird having already located it as it perched (sat) on the ground. Bruce indicated that he had seen the bird the day before, and that this was a similar location to the one he had seen this same species the previous year. It would be interesting to learn if it was the same bird. So, thanks to Bruce and the other two who had already located this bird. I don't know if I would have found it where it was sitting without their help.|