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Mystery flying bird, Northern Virginia, April 24, 2021 (1 Viewer)

howiewu

Well-known member
Hi, I took this picture today (April 24, 2021) in Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.

At the time I was sure it was a Northern Gannet, which is somewhat usual at this location (not on the coast). But initially I did not pay attention and thought it was "just another gull" until it flew past me. I took 3 pictures but they were all from the same perspective and this one is the clearest.

Looking at this picture alone, would you agree it's a Northern Gannet? It was a large bird with long wings, and I am a medium-level birder (I think) and have seen gannets many times before. As I said at the time I was sure it was a Northern Gannet, but now looking at the picture I don't know if I can convince others such.

Please let me know what you think!

Thanks,
Howard


bird2.jpg
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
It looks like a Royal or a Caspian Tern to me. The bill appears orangey-reddish on my laptop, and the wingtip pattern fits those species and rules out Northern Gannet. Plus, the back is slightly gray while the rump is white.

A Royal Tern was seen at that spot last Sunday (the 18th) and the species has been reported from the county during other Aprils. Caspian Tern is far more likely though.
(edited to include Caspian and occurrence info)
 
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howiewu

Well-known member
It looks like a Royal Tern to me. The bill appears orangey-reddish on my laptop, and the wingtip pattern fits that species and rules out Northern Gannet. Plus, the back is slightly gray while the rump is white.
Royal Tern would make sense, actually, thanks. It was far (high) and flew from behind me, I guess I made a snap judgement which was incorrect (excuses ..)

Howard
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
Royal Tern would make sense, actually, thanks. It was far (high) and flew from behind me, I guess I made a snap judgement which was incorrect (excuses ..)

Howard
I edited my post since you replied, so the quoted section is different and I added more information.
 

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