A Really Small Seagull with a Black Head

4th common tern2
That's how my husband described the bird he saw through his camera's viewfinder.  He is an awesome photographer, but not quite an expert on birds.  I'm not much better when it comes to sea birds.  I know this is a tern, and I think it is a Common Tern - but I'm guessing.

4th commontern
Terns are similar in coloring to their larger cousins, the gulls, but terns are smaller and have a distinctive "sharper" shape.

tern in flight
When flying, terns and gulls are not a bit alike.  The sharp angles of a tern's wings is impossible to miss.

tern in flight 2
Here is another classic tern silhouette.

4th jetty gull2
A Herring Gull skimming over the jetty.  I like the 3D look!  Gulls are great birds for fledgling photographers, by the way.  They are large enough to spot, unafraid of humans, and very graceful. 

4th herring gull
A Herring Gull soaring overhead.

4th tahantogull
Herring Gull over the waves.

4th bgull
Great Black-Backed Gull heading out to sea.

3dring billed gull
This immature Gull could be a Ring Billed, but it is difficult to be sure at this age.  Immature gulls of most species are browner and more speckled than adults.


  1. Hi Sue! I hope you guys enjoyed your stay on the Cape.

    These are great pictures! I couldn't get the first one to load, but speaking of birds with black heads, I've been seeing a single laughing gull at Monument Beach lately. It's the first time I've ever seen one in Massachusetts. I've only ever seen them on the Jersey Shore.

    Did you see any on your vacation?

  2. I just saw my first Laughing Gull on vacation! In fact, we saw quite a few! I also saw Common Loons, which I haven't seen around here before. I was really happy about both sightings, although I don't think I got pictures of either bird. Congratulations on your Loon picture on BirdingGirl!

    We had a GREAT vacation on the Cape, and we saw tons of new (and maybe even rare!) bird species when we went to Monomoy. Tom and Pete both got great pictures, but I need to work on mastering my Nikon. I got nothing!


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