Terns at Rattray Marsh: June 2020

We see two species of terns in the Toronto area at this time of year.

The Caspian Tern is about the size of a Ring-billed Gull and I usually identify them by size and the raucous call they make which sounds like a bandage being ripped from a wound.

Common Terns are considerably smaller and have a distinctive “tee-arr” call.

I photographed several this morning and realize that size doesn’t help identification when you are looking at a photo.

The Caspian has a large red bill:

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern

The bill of the Common is smaller and has a black tip:

Common Tern
Common Tern
distant gull and Common Tern
Common Terns

Rattray Marsh has a very high water level at the moment so I did not see any of the marsh species that might be there when the water level is lower.

Here are photos of the marsh, rocky beach and some birds:

Baltimore Oriole (male)
Mute Swan
Mute Swan
Red-winged Blackbird (male)
Canada Geese
Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gulls
American Robin
Common Grackle
Mourning Dove
Killdeer chick

Other nature:

Seven Spotted ladybug
Silvery Blue Butterfly

Some botany:

Yellow Avens (Avens aleppicum)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Wood Sedge (Carex blanda)
Apple (Malus)
London Plane-tree fruit (Platanus x acerifolia)
Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
Redbud (Cersis canadensis)
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)
May-apple (Podophyllum peltatum)
fading White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)


As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.                          – Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)

Miles Hearn

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