Today, I happily saw a notice online for a reported Whiskered Tern in New Jersey (found by Louise Zemaitis and Alec Humann) at Bunker Pond, right next to the Cape May Hawkwatch and decided to head down. These are the kinds of notifications that set a birder’s heart racing! This would be a third North American record and all three were seen at some point in New Jersey. The previous records were from the 1990s so, as you can imagine, this bird had local birders giddy! The Hawkwatch platform was full of birders and non-birders all eager to hear what all the fuss was about. This Tern, most similar to our Black Tern, is a European/African bird that is quite different from our “normal” New Jersey Terns. The flight was noticeably light and fluid and its twists and turns suited it well as it plucked bugs from the air above the pond like a Swallow. The Tern elegantly worked around the pond and then to the beach and back, resting once in a while on a maintenance dock. It was all very pleasant, and I was left in a birder’s state of perpetual joy as the rest of the day played out. For 2014 I have yet to see a Sandwich Tern but I have a Whiskered Tern!
Below are a few shots: