The 2018 summer tern season on Long Island has been great so far and is going 
to set records for Arctic Tern in several ways: total records, total observers 
contributing independently documented records, and records from sites apart 
from Moriches Inlet, such as Rockaway Inlet, Jones Inlet, and Old Inlet. With 
apologies to those who have had enough ternology already, I’d like to raise a 
few points now, just past the mid-point of the season, while we still have time 
to collect lots more data. Here are four debates that I’ve been dealing with:

1. Is photo documentation necessary?
1a. Arctic Terns are common and easy to find, so documentation is not important
1b. Arctic Terns are rare, at least in most years, and hard to identify, so 
documentation is very important

2. Where do Arctic Terns occur in NYS?
2a. Arctic Terns occur everywhere, from far offshore to small upstate lakes and 
the Great Lakes; there’s no pattern.
2b. Arctic Terns occur at Cupsogue; searching elsewhere is a masochistic waste 
of time
2c. Arctic Terns occur regularly around all of Long Island’s ocean inlets.

3. What does “second-summer type” mean and how should I feel about it?
3a. When I see the term, “second-summer type” I want to throw up and nobody has 
the right to make me say it.
3b. The term, “second-summer type” is going to keep on coming up so we should 
tolerate it, even though it doesn’t refer to anything that’s biologically valid.
3c. The concept of “second-summer type” terns is like a revelation that unlocks 
the secrets of the universe.

4. Does Arctic Tern occurrence actually dip in late June, between peaks in mid 
June and early July, or is this an artifact?

I’ve uploaded some figures to my flickr site, based on my own observations of 
Arctic Terns on Long Island, which I think shed light on these debates. Fellow 
tern enthusiasts, let’s see what we can do.

Shai Mitra
Bay Shore

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