More storm birds at Bald Eagle

Drew WeberMigration1 Comment

adult Caspian Tern

This afternoon, amped up by reports of Hudsonian Godwit and a jaeger at Conejohela Flats in Lancaster County, Alex and I decided to make another quick run out to Bald Eagle State Park to see what birds had dropped down in the continuing bad weather.

The four Sanderlings from this morning were still on the beach but the most exciting birds were the 7 Caspian Terns that were loafing on the beach. A Herring Gull was also notable but this is the largest number of Caspian Terns either I or Alex has seen in Centre County, not really much of a feat considering that this is only out second fall birding the area.

seven Caspian Terns and a lone Herring Gull

One of the terns was a juvenile with dark edging to some of its scapulars and a more orange-colored bill. It occasionally called in a wheezy whistled voice that was a real contrast to the raspy and frustrated sounding call of the adults.

juvenile Caspian Tern with two Bonaparte's Gulls

The real excitement, though, came when Alex was processing the photos. He noticed something that we had missed when we were actually looking at the birds; one of the terns was banded!

adult Caspian Tern with banded leg

By zooming in on the image (below), Alex was able to read ‘R5’ on the band. We’ll let you know if we figure out where this bird was banded. I thought it was interesting that the banded tern’s feathers look they are relatively beat up. It would be very interesting to find out where it is from.

close up of band

Props to Alex for getting the above photos to turn out on such a rainy overcast day.