Today (22 July 2016) while 'working' on whale watching program at Cape Race I saw a ROYAL TERN. It appeared from the north flying about 75 m above the water and 200 m from shore. It flew past the lighthouse at 18:10 but circled once in the cove behind the cape and miraculously came back. It flew back past the light house and north along the shore. It was flying in a light meandering manner unlike the steady purposeful movement of kittiwakes and gannets going past the lighthouse.
It was an adult with a full black cap. Typically adults gain a white forehead by late July. Features that clinch the ID from the Caspian Tern are a) bill being slimmer and orange rather than red-orange, b) underside of primaries showing dark gray trailing edge to feather tips instead of a blackish overall wash on Caspian, c) upper side of primaries on all but fresh spring Royals typically with some or all feathers being blackish. These being silvery in adult Caspian most of the year including the time period in Newfoundland waters, d) tail relatively longer with much more obvious fork.
This is about the 6th record for Newfoundland with mid summer being the peak time. The last record was two together at St. Vincents Beach on 9 July 2012.
Below are a chronological series of photos of the Cape Race Royal Tern from 22 July 2016.
Where is it now? Where is it sleeping tonight? Chance Cove? Renews? Will it be seen again? Here is the last photo as it flew back north along the coast....