Rich and Ann Paul, along with Ann Hodgson, wardens of the Audubon's
Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries, found an Elegant Tern sitting on an
egg this morning during one of their breeding bird censuses on
Hillsborough Bay.  They later took Bill Pranty and I out to photograph
the bird.  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.

While it is not possible to see this bird in its current location,
birders in the Tampa Bay area, particularly at Fort DeSoto, should keep
their eyes open for this bird.

Good birding,

David Powell
Brandon, FL
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