– Black Noddy Tern Sightings –

Debra Hess

Yankee Freedom II Naturalist

Noddy Tern with Baby Chick Noddy Tern with Chick

Noddy Terns with Egg Noddy Terns

The northeast coaling docksat the Dry Tortugas National Park have been yielding daily sightings of Black Noddy Terns. These terns- slightly smaller, darker, and with a slightly longer bill than the Brown Noddy Tern can be picked out with binoculars or a spotting scope at the N.E. coaling docks by carefully observing the terns side by side . The Black Noddy Tern is known to be a more pelagic (open ocean) species, and has consistently been observed in the Dry Tortugas in the spring since the 1960’s, although it is not known to nest here. At least 2 simultaneous sightings of 2 Black Noddy’s have occurred on the N.E. coaling docks the week of April 13, 2008.

Falcon’s have dominated the paradeground of Fort Jefferson during this same week (April 13th)- as many as 7 Merlins in one day, and numerous Peregrines and Kestrel as well. Warbler sightings are still slow- new species for the 2008 season include Swainson’s, Blackpoll, Redstart, Worm-eating, Ovenbird, Tennessee, and Pine. The first Thrush – a Wood Thrush, Indigo Bunting,Orchard Oriole, Yellow billed Cuckoo, Red eyed and Black Whiskered Vireo, Grey and Eastern Kingbird are other visitors in early April. A Dunlin, several Avocets, and a Greater Yellowlegs were observed on the beaches. We are still anxiously awaiting a big push of migrants to occur.

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