A fine looking bird I am sure you'll agree. Fish tremble at the sight of that huge blood red bill! This particular bird was showing off in the bay viewable from Sand Beach Tower in the Apalachicola River Wildlife Environmental Area. A great birding site that's in the middle of nowhere. Bald Eagles, large rafts of scaup and Bufflehead, Forster's Terns, Common Loon and thousands of American Robins (feasting on Yaupon berries) were in evidence during our visit yesterday.
|Caspian Terns have more extensively black/gray coloration to their outer primaries on the underwing. The black coloration is more sharply defined on the underwing of a Royal and is typically restricted to the ends of the outer primary feathers.|
In North Florida you can find Caspian Terns inland much more frequently than Royals. The latter is actually quite rare inland and the majority of records occur during the hurricane season. Here in Leon County Royal Terns are rare. Caspians however do show up on or near our inland lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Most records involve singles or pairs. Groups larger than 1 or 2 are very rare inland in this part of the state. Royals are much more common along the coast than Caspians and you can often see both species together. In my experience Caspians are almost always recorded in groups no bigger than 3 or 4 whereas Royals can often be seen in quite large flocks. When observing the species side by side the size difference is very apparent. Caspians are a noticeably larger stockier bird than the Royal.
|easily the most common bird in the national forest yesterday|