Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bridled Tern

On this day in 1951, Evelyn and Quintin Kramer found a carcass of a long-dead Bridled Tern at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County. Subsequent records of the species have been associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, when it is almost expected (if not quite as common as Sooty Tern in these circumstances).

The obituary of Quintin Kramer that appeared in Cassinia contains the following: "During World War II, Quintin and Evelyn did most of their birding by public transportation and shank's mare. They walked the Jersey beaches for miles and found numerous dead birds, including an occasional rare species" (Peniston 1976). Presumably, this tern was carried north with a tropical storm during the summer of 1950. Unisys shows 13 storms for that season; the likeliest candidates to drop a tropical tern in NJ would seem to be Able and Dog (but I'm open to contrary opinions from those who have studied the intersection of hurricanes and birds in more detail than I have). In any case, the Kramers came along after the fact, and the specimen in question now resides at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Peniston, Howell. 1976. Quintin Kramer 1908-1975. Cassinia 56: 6. PDF here

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