Hi Tim and all,

There are a number of parallel systems for denoting age. The worst for birders 
is the plumage cycle system, because at this time of year a flock of 30 manky 
looking Lesser Black-backed Gulls of exactly the same age 350-370 days since 
hatching might include both first and second cycle individuals, and it's 
obviously absurd to lump the former with fresh juvs and the latter with two 
year-olds in summaries of age break-downs.

My preferred system for terns is the standard one used by Grant, Malling Olsen, 
and others:
Juvenile the newly hatched COTE juvs are the cutest of all birds
First-summer one-year-old birds with black bills, white foreheads, white 
underparts, short tails, etc.
Second-summer types a category including some (but not all) actual two 
year-olds and a fraction of older adults failing to attain full breeding 
condition. The appearance of birds in this category is highly variable because 
it includes some very delayed two year-olds as well as some birds that barely 
differ from normal adults.
Adult

Calendar year notation works well too in the temperate zone:
HY
SY 
TY type
Adult

Best,
Shai
________________________________________
From: bounce-122646468-3714...@list.cornell.edu 
[bounce-122646468-3714...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Timothy Healy 
[tp...@cornell.edu]
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2018 6:48 PM
To: Steve Walter
Cc: NYSBIRDS
Subject: Re: [nysbirds-l] Nickerson Beach Arctic Tern and others

Steve and other sternid enthusiasts,

Isn’t second summer the term used for the immature aspect birds with white 
foreheads and black bills? A freshly fledged juvenile would be living through 
its first summer, so second summer individuals are yearlings, correct? If my 
understanding of the nomenclature is accurate, the bird I found yesterday, 
which matches Steve’s description and the photos of Tripper’s bird from Friday, 
would be in its third summer or older. At a glance it looks like a classic 
alternate plumage adult ARTE, but the faint darker smudging on the carpal bar 
and the tail streamers that don’t extend beyond the folded wingtips indicate 
that it is not fully mature. I saw a similarly marked individual at Nickerson 
last year, and in 2015 I got a photo of an adult-like ARTE with a surprisingly 
dark bill. The variation in age classes and species of terns is so fascinating. 
I’ve learned a lot from these discussions about Arctics, Roseates, and the 
mysterious dark Commons. Mornings and afternoons at the colonies and inlets are 
one of my favorite parts of early summer here on Long Island.

Cheers!
-Tim H

On Jun 18, 2018, at 6:05 PM, Steve Walter 
<swalte...@verizon.net<mailto:swalte...@verizon.net>> wrote:

Another day, another Arctic Tern at Nickerson Beach. Actually, my first for the 
year, and this one had to be waited on. It might have been too foggy in the 
morning for it to find land (joke). Interesting bird this one. My tern guru 
advises me to call it a “second summer type”. Basically adult looking with a 
red bill, but with a carpal bar and speckling on the forehead (not well visible 
in the picture I posted). In a similar vein, there was a Roseate Tern of less 
than full adult appearance. This bird, and also a full adult, had readable blue 
legs bands. Maybe others have seen this, but this is the first time I’ve seen 
terns with something more readable in the field than the metal bands. I’ll 
reports these (bands B97 and Y11) and find out more in due time. But perhaps 
someone on this list might know something (Joe D?).  Also, a Gull-billed Tern 
flying over the east tern colony around mid-day. Pictures of the Arctic and 
Roseates have been added to the bottom of the Recent Work page at my web site 
http://stevewalternature.com/ .

Steve Walter
Bayside, NY
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