This post presents a bit of a puzzle. Along with the Caspian Terns spotted recently was this nearby flock of Whiskered Terns. Both species can be found in small numbers at Cairn Curran throughout the year.
Whiskered Terns are much smaller than Caspian Terns, but quite similar in size to another closely related species that can be found on inland waterways – the White-winged Black Tern. Non-breeding Whiskered Terns and White-winged Black Terns are very similar in appearance – I’ve never seen the latter at Cairn Curran, although intriguingly there is a recent reliable sighting.
The ‘problematic’ tern was with the breeding plumaged Whiskered Terns, but roosting a few metres away from the main group. I’d be interested in any thoughts that might confirm or deny my identification.
I’m a little more confident with my identification below!