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Its got a very dark bill for a Common Tern.
From the picture it seems to lack the "small dark wing-tip" of Roseate Tern. The primaries look a more uniform grey as in Common Tern.
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Also the tail projection looks way too short for Roseate.
Judging tail length on this bird is difficult because of the angle of the body (look at the position of the legs). There is something to be said for Arctic...with relatively dark underparts and wings, relatively short legs, dark bill and pale cheeks.
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Yes you could be right there. I guess I was getting too focused on trying to separate out just common from roseate.
I was also trying to tell the tail length from the reflection in the water as well as on the bird itself, but that is probably a bad idea and clutching a straws (or reflections) a bit.
Aren't the chin and underparts too pale for Arctic though?
I didn't say it was an Arctic!
To be honest, I don't have enough recent experience of these to go further. Someone who sees them regularly would sort it straight away, no doubt! I used to see a lot of all three, but no longer live near the coast, so should leave it to someone else..
I was just flicking through the surfbirds photos and came across a picture of a Roseate tern on there. I must say that IMO it is a very good match for this bird. Also Googling Common term throws up a lot of birds with very dark primaries, contrary to what I said earlier. The Mantle on the surfbirds roseate was a lot paler, but I think this is just because I am comparing an over exposed photo to one that is slightly underexposed.
I'm still sat on the fence a little but leaning more towards Roseate now, almost to the point of falling off on to the Roseate side the fence ;)
Lat/Lng: 55.5, -1.7
OS grid ref: NU2227