Rick Wiltraut found this Arctic Tern at Beltzville State Park on May 21st, the 2nd record for Carbon County. Rick provided a descriptive narrative of the sighting on the PABirds listserv.
In flight the uniform grayish upperwing, lighter underwing with dark trailing edge on primaries, long tail, and appearing shorter necked, with small head and dark red bill were all noticeable during prolonged views through spotting scope. It also had also had a noticeable snappy flight style. At one point the bird rose fairly high and was backlit revealing the translucent primaries. At rest on the buoy the tail extended beyond the tail and it had noticeable short legs and rounded head with white cheek contrasting with dark gray body and dark cap which nearly reached the gape. The bird could cover a lot of water in a short period of time and was often seen hovering and plunging into the water for fish. Once it caught a fish, dropped it, retrieved it, dropped it again and retrieved it, repeating this four or five times. As Dustin mentioned, around 8:00 p.m. it left the buoy and flew low over the water and repeatedly plopped into the water and bathed a few seconds, doing this about six times, before continuing east out of sight. Weather conditions were very similar to the day I found two here on May 16, 1989, rainy with fairly steady easterly winds. Like those two birds, this bird spent most of the time flying, only perching maybe 3 times on the buoys by the launch offering a chance for photographs.
Species: Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Date of Sighting: 21 May 2012 to 22 May 2012
County : CARBON Location : BELTZVILLE STATE PARK
Observer(s): Rick Wiltraut, m.obs.
Date of Submission: 2012
Submitted by: Dustin Welch
Written Description: No Photo: Yes Specimen: No Recording: No