David Powell wrote (in part):
 >While we were unable to obtain pictures of the bird on the
 >nest, since it had apparently exchanged places with its mate, almost
 >certainly a Sandwich Tern, we did obtain photo documentation of the
 >bird, initially in the tern colony (mixed Royal and Sandwich Terns), and
 >later resting on the beach.  This is the first confirmed nesting for
 >Florida, though an Elegant Tern was seen copulating with a Sandwich Tern
 >by Lyn Atherton last year, and at least one bird thought to be a
 >Sandwich X Elegant hybrid was seen.

Let me first say that I have no questions about the need to secrete the
location of these nesting terns, and the need to limit human disturbance to
their activities.  However, I have to admit that I am an ornery contrarian
about the claim that this is the first confirmed nesting of Elegant Tern in
Florida.  I readily admit that this is probably the first confirmed nesting
of a Sandwich(?)XElegant(?) pair in Florida, assuming that the non-Sandwich
parent is a "pure" Elegant, or that the other of the pair is "almost
certainly" a Sandwich.  It's all semantics, but I think that a claim of
Elegant nesting in Florida might best be based on a "pure" pair of Elegants.

This will be hard, if not impossible, to confirm as it will probably
require genetic analysis.  As I recall, there is some history of
long-staying "Elegant" Terns interbreeding with Sandwich and Lesser-crested
in southern Europe, and perhaps with Sandwich in southern Claifornia.

Any comments on this subject will be appreciated...


Noel Wamer
Jacksonville, FL, US
"You know your neighborhood watch is serious when you
have to watch your neighbors".
                                              (Noel Wamer)

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