Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2016-14

Common name:

Least Tern

Scientific name: Sternula antillarum
Date: 05/16/2016
Time: 1:00pm
Length of time observed: 15 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: ?
Location: Powell Lake
County: Utah
Latilong: 40.381677, -111.902997
Elevation: 4,300'
Distance to bird: 15'-200'
Optical equipment: 8x42 binoculars, and 600mm lens
Weather: slightly overcast to partly sunny
Light Conditions: nice lighting--not too bright
Description:        Size of bird: small tern
(Description:)       Basic Shape: tern
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: grey, white, black and yellow
(Description:)            Bill Type: small but long dagger-like bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Very tiny tern--much smaller than all other gulls and terns present. Grayish belly, chest, back, rump, tail, and wings. Black outer primary feather (maybe just P10). Dark cap, with white forehead and a little white on the cheeks. Small orange-yellow bill with the slightest black tip. Small tail with two whispy streamers extending an inch or so beyond the tail tip on either side.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: Flying around a small pond occasionally diving
Habitat: Small lake/pond, surrounded by phragmites, russian olives, and a urban development.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
None--No other N. American Tern is this size, or pattern. Other species around the world like Little, Peruvian, or Yellow-billed are all extremely unlikely.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Seen several in Utah and else where in the U.S.
References consulted: None
Description from: From memory
Observer: Tim Avery
Observer's address: N/A
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Several later in the day.
Date prepared: 05/18/2016
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Please grab copies of the photos you want to include, since the directory on my website will change when I move the photos into their species folder in a few months.