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Help with IDs in Florida (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi there,

I'm back from a trip to Florida (and some other states in US) and would appreciate some help with these IDs.

1 - Naples, FL. It's a big gull, much taller than Ring-billed and Laughing, the only other gulls present in this flock (+Skimmers, Sanderlings and Terns). My best guess would be juv. Herring.

2/3 - Fort de Soto Park, near St. Petersburg, FL. I'm having a hard time telling if this is a Sandwich or a Common Tern. Is it possible to ID it from these angles?

4 - Off the coast of Clearwater, FL. These are almost certainly Black Scoters, but one factor is keeping me a bit skeptical. None of the birds of all three flocks I've seen (one of which composed by 22 individuals) were entirely black, as I'd expect a male to be; were they all females and immatures?

5 - Gainesville, FL. My best guess (wild, wild shot) for this flycatcher would be Least. Is it even IDable? No voice heard, unfortunately.

Thanks a lot!


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Well-known member
1. You got it, Herring Gull
2-3. Actually a Forster's Tern, with that dark mast around the eyes.
4. You go it.
5. Eastern Phoebe. The empid flycatchers aren't in Fl in the winter.


Well-known member
Thanks a lot, man!

What about this tern? I was thinking Royal, but now I think it might be Elegant. Also in Clearwater.


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Well-known member
You can pretty much rule out Elegant by location, that's a West Coast bird (with a few very notable vagrants).

But a few vagrant Elegants have been accepted in the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area where the photo was taken, including one last year (a bit farther south in Sarasota).


Well-known member
I think we'd need a much better shot, especially of the bill/head, to ID an Elegant in the east, even given a previous record in the area. I didn't realize there was more than one! I wonder where all the recent rash of Elegant's in the east came from..


Well-known member
Thanks guys. I guess it's Royal then, since nothing indicates otherwise.

I wonder if you could help me with this last bird from Florida. It was flying low over the ocean in a straight line (not sure if it was one or two individuals, now). At the time I thought it could be some kind of jaeger or skua, or even a really dark colored juv. gull. But, judging from the photos (especially the last one), the bill shape seems to indicate a bird of prey to me. I know the photos are terrible (the bird was quite far and I honestly didn't give it the deserved attention), but is it IDable? Also in Clearwater.

Thanks again!


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Well-known member
... The empid flycatchers aren't in Fl in the winter.

While Jocateme's bird was indeed an Eastern Phoebe empid flyctchers do show up on occasion in Winter in Florida. This year's Gainesville Christmas Bird Count had 2 Least Flycatchers and 1 unidentified Empidonax. Not to mention one Vermillion Flycatcher and one Ash-throated Flycatcher!



Well-known member
I guess a genus-level ID is already more than I expected, so thank you all guys!

While I don't think this is a conclusive factor, this bird was flying well within a mile off coast, which, according to what I've been reading, would indicate Parasitic rather than Pomarine, right?

Simon Wates

Well-known member
While I don't think this is a conclusive factor, this bird was flying well within a mile off coast, which, according to what I've been reading, would indicate Parasitic rather than Pomarine, right?

At least this side of the Atlantic I haven't noticed any difference between Parasitic and Pomarine regarding the distance offshore. Here in southwest Portugal Poms pass very close to headlands - often well within 100 metres.


Well-known member
Thanks again for the help, guys! Pomarine it likely is, then! Guess a positive ID is impossible from these photos.

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