On Black and White

No doubt you might have expected a return to the WTP to see how the White-winged Terns were doing.

And not to disappoint, we took an hour or so to try and locate them and enjoy the bright sunshine.  On two counts struck out. The sunshine disappeared and the Terns had other ideas about being made famous.
None the less it was pretty impressive to see and to also get a few frames from some occasional close passes.
There seemed to be only one bird in full Black Plumage and it didn’t really turn up until the sunlight had melted to the usual porridge. But. That means another chance on another day.


White-winged Tern(Chlidonias leucopterus)

Non-breeding adult is pale grey above, white below, and head white, with dusky crown and auricular patch; very like non-breeding C. hybridus, but dark of crown and ear-coverts usually separated by white supercilium, usually shows darker grey band across lesser coverts, and often diagnostic black bar on underwing. Moults back into breeding plumage in mid-Mar. Juvenile has blackish-brown saddle and silver-grey wings, contrasting with white rump and collar.

C & E Asian breeders winter from Burma and SE China, S through Indonesia and Indochina to Australia and New Zealand; wintering birds in Persian Gulf, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in N Indian Ocean may come from these populations. In tropical Pacific an uncommon visitor to Palau and vagrant in Marianas.

Very scarce in C Europe, where breeds rarely or sporadically, but fairly common in parts of E Europe and C & E Asia; very common in steppes of Kazakhstan; perhaps several 100,000’s of pairs in former USSR.


Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.07.03 PM

The sheer scope of their journey is hard to grasp from such a small map.

Gochfeld, M., Burger, J., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2016). White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54046 on 21 May 2016).

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