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Royal Tern and Black Skimmer

Taxonomists used to place the Black Skimmer in the with Terns, so it seems appropriate to show it with one of our largest terns, the Royal Tern. The Black Skimmer here in alternate plumage, probably a male because of the slit visible between the mandibles. The Royal Tern is an adult in pre-alternate molt. Harsh noon light made for a challenging shot, but backlighting helped. Taken at Fred Howard Park, Tarpon Springs, FL, where the birds use the beach as a day roost, despite the frequent disturbance by here by beach-walkers.

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Taken on April 7, 2012