BESP 8/25/11 – Forster’s Terns, Common Loon, etc

I made a quick run over to Bald Eagle State Park this morning and was rewarded with a few interesting species; two Forster’s Terns (a juvenile and an adult at the swimming beach), a very early Common Loon, two juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a Least Sandpiper. The Common Loon, which was a 1st summer bird, this is the third record for the month of August here in Centre County with the other two being 27 Aug 2006 by Robert Snyder and 16 Aug 2001 also by Robert Snyder. Drew Weber also had a loon at BESP on two occasions during this past July, so I think that the bird I saw today may have been the July bird and he has over-summered at the park. Most loons don’t start arriving in the county till October, although some have been seen during September. The Forster’s Terns (which were hanging out at the swimming beach with some Ring-billed Gulls) are an uncommon migrant through Centre County, with most fall records during early August and late September. Below are some photos from this morning, and here is a link to the full checklist with some more details.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (juvenile) on left and Least Sandpiper (juvenile) on right - BESP swimming beach

Forster's Tern - juvenile at BESP swimming beach

Ring-billed Gull - juvenile showing off its beautifully-patterned feathers