Chasing The White Bird

Yesterday morning I drove up to Berlin Pond, a favorite local birding site, and immediately noticed several larger birds moving with the Tree Swallows over the water.  One was graceful, black-bodied, and flew down to the water seemingly to grab insects.  It was a Black Tern — the first one I’ve seen.

The light mist made camera-work tough and I almost ignored the white Tern that seemed to be flying near it.  I’m not great at identifying terns and thought that it was a Common Tern.

Moving around the pond in the truck, I noted Common Loons, ducks, geese, a Bald Eagle and then ran into two birder friends who were all excited about the white Tern.  They had only a quick look and thought that it had characteristics of an Arctic Tern.  So, the hunt was on.  Cellphones passed the news of this probable and we spent an hour or two looking for it, with no luck.

Meanwhile, as we waited, a Green Heron did a close fly-by, circled, and landed not far away, posing for this digiscoped picture.  What a neat bird — we hope they might be nesting nearby.

Well, the Arctic Tern idea was a false alarm.  Other experienced birders had got a good look at the white bird and were positive that it was a Common Tern.  However, in looking at the records for Arctic Tern sightings in Vermont, all four occurred about this date in May.  And the Black Tern, while not that rare, was a pretty neat visitor to see.  Wonder what will show up next?

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