Least TernFrom the smallest to the largest, the Caspian Tern is as large as some gulls. They tend to fly high over the water and when they see a fish, they plunge head first into the water. Note the black on the undersides of the primary feathers.
Caspian TernAlso seen in fairly large numbers were the Elegant Terns and this one was flying away with its catch. Notice the different bill than the Caspian above.
Elegant TernAnd in the photo below, note the long bill, with no black tip and the different color pattern of the primaries compared to the Caspian Tern.
Elegant TernThey also sport a fairly long crest that is not so visible in flight, but when perched on the ground it is more readily seen.
Elegant TernAnd finally the most common tern that I found in Rocky Point was Forster's Tern. Below is a photo of an adult; notice the black tip to the bill and also the light gray upper body.
Forster's TernAnd there were many Forster's still in winter plumage, with a black bill and no complete black cap on the head.
Forster's TernHaving not been around many terns before this visit to Rocky Point, I did have some difficulties in identifying these birds as they were flying. Many did not get ID'd until I was able to process them after downloading. I have a great respect for those that know terns well and maybe next time it will be a bit easier for me. The terns themselves are awesome to watch. Many dives into the surf for a fish and many times they come up with nothing. There is no doubt that I most certainly want to pay another visit or two to Rocky Point.