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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

request advice re: ID of Tern sp. from 2019 (Shabla Tuzla Lake), Bulgaria (1 Viewer)

For me your new picture helps with the sizing. I think this is the same species as the other terns in the group. Most of those are "clearly" (scare quotes because others may disagree) smaller than the gulls. The arrowed bird has its feathers fluffed up giving a misleading impression of large size. ...I'd call them whiskered
I'll bite and disagree ... :LOL:

I'm going for immature/post breeding Sandwich Terns - size looks only marginally smaller (admittedly the angle of the original BH Gull is less side on). Some appear to have longer pale tipped bills, going on Collins would expect longer legs for Gull-billed? Can't make them Whiskered myself, but ...

(Sandwich and BH Gull together ... )



To my knowledge not seen any of the protangists together ever, and most not for a long time!
 
Hello Earnest,
i agree with Dan and SJC
do you have more pictures?I have the advantage of joining this thread after the new two pictures were added.
Despite I agree with all, judging size is hard here, I think there are Gull billed and Sandwich terns here, mainly by the flight picture.
I can detect a possible Whiskered Tern in the flight picture, just right and below the center. But this is difficult to judge on my actual device and surely on the picture.
Please note, that Whiskered Tern is realy smaller than a BHG as already said by Ken.
But the picture of the sitting birds is really difficult for me, too. Reason, don't know?
But if forced, the bird with the arrow is a 1cy sandwich Tern imo.
But I hope fore more comments and pictures. Thanks!

And I am not so sure about the bird in profile left of the landing bird. And the bird with the apearantly juvenile Litte Gull head. Just a pitfall of single picture effect and artifacts?
 
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Hello again,
The birds that looked good for a Gull billed Tern imo are the Tern just right of the original bird and the bird next to this???
But I am not so sure now, especially about the second bird, that seems to have a quite spikey bill when taken angle of viewing into account.
 
Thank you to everyone for the helpful responses. After reading them I am no longer thinking of Gull-billed Tern, but leaning strongly toward Whiskered Tern.
By the way, this small lake is fantastic for birds with many wader and tern species among others. It is in the north-eastern part of Bulgaria, which I visited in 2019 and enjoyed a few days fine birding. I stayed at Branta Birding Lodge, in nearby Durankulak. The birding lodge is owned and run by the proprietor and his family, expert birder Mr Pavel Simoneov, who was very helpful indeed.
 
I'll bite and disagree ... :LOL:

I'm going for immature/post breeding Sandwich Terns - size looks only marginally smaller (admittedly the angle of the original BH Gull is less side on). Some appear to have longer pale tipped bills, going on Collins would expect longer legs for Gull-billed? Can't make them Whiskered myself, but ...

(Sandwich and BH Gull together ... )



To my knowledge not seen any of the protangists together ever, and most not for a long time!
I think that sounds about the best diagnosis.
 
see carefully the relevant attached PDF by the late PJ Grant
This is regarded by many as a classic work and for that reason alone is worth citing - though 40 years ago when I read it (carefully) I didn't believe its conclusions or accept its logic or methodology. I'm far more a Father Ted man - sadly not applicable here, as the problem bird doesn't conform to his thesis but instead looks large/far away.
the same image not as cropped and also one of the birds . . . when they had taken to flight.
The flying birds look largely like Sandwich tern: strikingly long and narrow wings, and long fine bill. Of the standing birds, despite all the problems/vagaries of size assessment, I couldn't accept any as marsh terns, on size alone; I don't see a suitable gull-billed bill, though I wouldn't rule out there being some there. I think that probably they're (at least) mostly Sandwich tern.
 
Are the birds in flight definitely those which were roosting?

I think so. The photo of the birds on the ground includes only a fraction of the total birds present. They would all take off en masse if something disturbed them. There were also black terns present, but none of the birds seen seemed to have adult breeding plumage.
 
Hello again Earnest,

I still hope for more pictures. No offence you know.
Please accept my humble apologies, as I inadvertently missed this message. I am posting some pics, although the quality is dreadful seeing as I was using a cheap bridge camera back then.
 

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Hello Earnest,

no problem and no offence taken you know. Thanks for posting these inteesting images!

First picture shows two White-winged Black Terns imo:
  • gentle rounded head with larhe head gives them a Marsh Tern jizz
  • right bird has the dark saddle of a 1cy bird, and I think I can make it out on the left bird, too.
There is an ault Whiskered Tern flyying just left of the center in the third picture.

There are some Sandwich Terns, the ones as large as the Black-headed Gulls with the right shape of the black mask and you can make out a crest in some of them

The Gull billed Tern candidate (?) in picture three might well be an overexposed Sandwich Tern, but I am unsure.

And I see a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper and just Black headed Gulls (and no other Gull species) in your picture .... But I better stop here as your pictures are clearly "Hidden objects pictures" (thanks Tom again!) and well worth looking again more closely.
 
This is a rather confusing thread but, apart from the two juvenile White-winged Terns in File 100.jpg, I see only Sandwich Terns, Black-headed Gulls and a few Common Terns in the photos (not including waders etc.).
Thank you so much. It started off with the Gull-billed Tern enquiry I made in the original post (seen at this venue) after that I enquired about the identity of other birds that happened to be in the pictures I took there on that occasion.
Thank you for seconding the id of White-winged Tern which is most helpful. A lifer
 
Hello Earnest,

no problem and no offence taken you know. Thanks for posting these inteesting images!

First picture shows two White-winged Black Terns imo:
  • gentle rounded head with larhe head gives them a Marsh Tern jizz
  • right bird has the dark saddle of a 1cy bird, and I think I can make it out on the left bird, too.
There is an ault Whiskered Tern flyying just left of the center in the third picture.

There are some Sandwich Terns, the ones as large as the Black-headed Gulls with the right shape of the black mask and you can make out a crest in some of them

The Gull billed Tern candidate (?) in picture three might well be an overexposed Sandwich Tern, but I am unsure.

And I see a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper and just Black headed Gulls (and no other Gull species) in your picture .... But I better stop here as your pictures are clearly "Hidden objects pictures" (thanks Tom again!) and well worth looking again more closely.
Thank you so much. I hadnt noticed the Wood Sandpiper, so that would be a tick for the trip. As for the White-winged terns : I am so pleased about this because they are a lifer for me. Mind you, If one takes photos of a group of birds then only spots the species afterwards when one looks at that photo, I am not sure if one can count it. There were quite a lot of other photos I took at this venue, with various gulls, terns and waders.
 
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Hi Earnest Lad,
I believe that the original photo shows both immature BHG and Gull-billed Tern.
That is most helpful. Thank you for your contribution. Gull-billed tern would be a lifer. I believe it to be one too. However I may wait until maybe I can get a better view before clinching the species
 
That is most helpful. Thank you for your contribution. Gull-billed tern would be a lifer. I believe it to be one too. However I may wait until maybe I can get a better view before clinching the species
The tern behind the Black-headed Gull in post #1 is definitely a Sandwich Tern, not Gull-billed, based on its bill shape, head pattern and strong pattern on the remaining juvenile lower scapulars and tertials.
 

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