[Tweeters] Black Terns at Monroe Prison Farm Ponds

Josh Adams xjoshx at gmail.com
Wed May 22 19:40:54 PDT 2013

Hello Tweets,
Ann Marie Wood and I were birding at the ponds across the street from the
old Monroe Prison Farm this afternoon. She'd relocated the Yellow-Headed
Blackbirds that were spotted there during the Ross's Goose extravaganza a
few weeks back and while I was trying to get them in my scope I noticed
what I at first thought was a Rock Pigeon flying over the ponds with the
hundreds of Swallows that were concentrated over the ponds by the mediocre
weather.As I tried to confirm the ID I realized this bird was all wrong for
any dove (Long, thin, pointy wings) and I started going through the
possibilities. The behavior and shape recalled Common Nighthawk, but none
of the markings were right. After a moment I recalled reading an old
Birdbox transcription that Steven Mlodinow and Steve Pink had seen a Black
Tern at this location a mere fourteen years ago and I realized that this
was indeed what I was looking at. We pulled our books out and confirmed the
black head and upper body, white under-tail, and dark gray back. It took
about another five minutes for us to finally notice there were actually two
of them out there, apparently hunting insects close to the water in the
midst of hundreds of Swallows and Vaux's Swifts. We made a few calls and
while we were waiting for Steve Pink to arrive a Peregrine Falcon was
greated by the alarm calls of five hundred Swallows as he arrived. He also
took a liking to the Terns and nearly took one out of the air before it
went to look for easier prey. The Tern's apparently took this as their cue
to depart and they disappeared within a few minutes. I searched all the
nearby areas of similar habitat, but the birds could unfortunately not be

Other good birds of the day were 6 species of Swallow (No Martins, good
numbers of Bank), dozens of Vaux's Swift, and four Yellow-Headed

Josh Adams
Lynnwood, WA
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20130522/4d363ee2/attachment.html>

More information about the Tweeters mailing list