Kristi - Thanks for finding a great bird that makes us open our ornithological libraries! I now have a mess in my living room. Great find - and the first for Missouri in many years - Awesome!
Wanted to add to what Kristi wrote:
I watched the Jaeger this morning from a little after 6:30 to 9:40, albeit never closer than 350 yards. However, a few times I got to see it in pretty good light even with the incredible overcast. I have very little Jaeger experience, but I do have some. Jaegers are a very tough ID - that is no secret. Also one that the overall behavior and gizz goes along way in identifying. I took a lot of notes, here are a few – which I think really aides in identifying the bird at Smithville:
- Tail length shorter than width of arm (this was consistent).
- Very aggressive bird, this bird chased an Osprey, a Bald Eagle, Ring-billed Gulls, at least 1 Bonaparte's Gull, Franklin's Gulls, and even Black Terns. Almost every time the few gulls rose off the water this morning, the jaeger was in the middle. This bird wasn't playing, it was chasing them.
- Never observed this bird flying 'tern' like, at best it flew falcon like - Quick, shallow wingbeats. Not buoyant at all making the body lifting with each wingbeat, which is what I would expect with Long-tailed.
- Sitting on the water, it is a bulky bird, not slender looking.
- In flight, very barrell chested, again not slender looking.
- Although the flash in the upper wing is very limited. It certainly appeared to have a crescent at times. But, definitely whiter toward the outer primaries.
Anyways, I think the above observations are key in the identification of the Smithville bird.
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