White-winged Tern

Chlidonias leucopterus


eBird Checklist S39786622
John Heinz NWR--impoundment (Philadelphia Co.)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Search this location, Illustrated Checklist
Latitude and Longitude 39.8894, -75.2601 Map



Observation details

*MEGA RARE* Adrian Binns spotted at 2:55 pm, flying from south end impoundment to north. It tracked past us, then came back down again. We called out field marks to determine it was not a Black Tern, but a White-winged Tern. Good scope views showed a "dingy-looking" marsh tern with black belly and white/light tail, and white front-face and forehead. The underwing pattern was black underwing coverts contrasting with light-gray flight feathers and secondaries. Light-colored tail - at a distance it looked white - contrasted with gray back and wings. Eliminated Black Tern and Whiskered Tern with these field marks. When the bird got closer, we could clearly see mottled black underbelly, and jet black underwing coverts. The bird appeared to be an adult transitioning to non-breeding plumage; underparts closer to alternate (summer) plumage, and upperparts closer to basic (winter/non-breeding) plumage. Second record for Pennsylvania; interestingly, the first PA record was this year, found August 10 at Nessmuk Lake, Tioga County. Could this be the same bird?!

Technical Information

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