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All Photos Are Copyright Lyn S. Atherton

This page was last updated on 11/14/01.

Elegant Tern--04/29/01, Ft. De Soto Park, Pinellas Co., Florida

On April 20, 2001, Jill Gaetzi and I discovered an adult in alternate plumage resting on the beach by the Gulf Pier. The tern had a spectacular rosy wash over all the normally white feathering. During the next 10 days, at the East Beach Picnic Area, I and many others observed it courting an alternate-plumaged Sandwich Tern. Not only did it catch and feed small fish to the Sandwich Tern, but on two occasions, April 26 and April 29, it was seen copulating with the Sandwich Tern. It was definitely a male! After the latter date, there were no other sightings of Elegant Tern until August 17,2001.