By Michael Ryan

On July 27, 2022, visitor Simon Priestnall spotted a strange Tern at Muddy Pond at Frigate Bay, and after viewing it carefully, he was very confident that he had seen a Gull-billed Tern. He reported same to E-Bird, the international online data base for bird sightings. Unfortunately, he did not have a camera at the time.

Well, on Friday, September 16, National Hero’s Day, and the day before Tropical Storm Fiona was to strike the island, I thought I would get in a little birding and off I went. First, to Greatheeds Pond, then Half Moon Bay Pond, and then the Frigate Bay Ponds, racking up the numbers in bird species that were being observed. Walking just past the Marriott dome I approached Muddy Pond and noticed a Tern flying alone around the pond. A quick view, and I knew exactly what it was, a Gull-billed Tern. I had read up on the description as soon as the reporting was sighted by Simon, in the event it ever crossed my path.

Out came the camera, but at the same time the Tern decided to fly away! “Oh no!” I rattled off a few photos and was fortunate to capture a couple of images!

Gull-billed Tern

The Gull-billed Tern is a chunky tern with a thick black bill, very broad wings and a shallow forked tail. It generally has a white head and a grey spot behind its eye.

This is the second new bird for St. Kitts this year, with the first being the Hooded Merganser.