White wing tern at Nessmuk Lake

WELLSBORO – Bird watchers from several states staked out the shores of Nessmuk Lake after a rare white-winged tern, normally found in Eurasia, was sited there this past week.

Wellsboro United Methodist Church’s pastor, Rev. Rich Hanlon, who spotted the bird Aug. 10, said he felt like he had been visited by a faraway place when he saw the tern, and credited fellow bird enthusiasts Kathy Riley and John Corcoran for helping him identify the rare tern.

“When I arrived at Nessmuk Lake last Thursday around 11:30 a.m., I saw something perched on the wood pilings that stick up out of the water,” he said.

As he got closer, he thought it looked like a black tern, which in itself is fairly rare, but he called his friends to confirm what he was seeing.

“Kathy had a field guide and when it started flying, she opened up her guide and pointed at the white winged tern, showing the white upper wings, white tail and black underwing feathers from breast to shoulders,” he said.