Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!


Jim Chiropolos
 

I had lunch at Middle Harbor today and there was a large group of Caspian and Elegant terns on the mudflat and one of the Elegant Terns flew to the former Alameda county navel base with a fish in its beak. In the spring, I and others had watched large groups of Elegant terns engaging in courtship at Middle Harbor.

Searching Ebird, John Luther reported a week ago that 760 elegant terns with some young were seen, which I believe is a first breeding record for Alameda (and lots of Caspian terns - almost a 1,000 - but no least terns). The breeding location is not accessible to the public. This is big news for the east bay, and Nor-Cal as I believe that no sizable elegant tern colonies or breeding had occurred in the bay (not sure of Peninsula and south bay status).

No matter what, this is big news as most elegant tern colonies are in Mexico and I think 3 in so-cal. This breeding and sizable colony indicates very dynamic tern behavior!!!

I did see several least terns - but not a lot. I am curious- is the good news for elegant terns good or bad for the least terns that next here and what is the status of least tern colony at the former Alameda island air station. Could someone with access fill us in (I will volunteer to do counts if no one is counting). (No Forsters terns seen in Middle Harbor today).

I need to bike Hayward marsh and see how the least terns and Forsters terns are doing there - last year I think was a down year. Can a counter there fill us in on the tern Hayward status. When that county is doing well, Hayward marsh just north of 92 is a cool place to bird as the terns, Forsters and Least are continually streaming overhead back and forth after fishing in the bay. The tern colonies are the crown jewell of summer east bay bird activity.

Mark Rauzon or others, can you fill us in on any more tern news.

Thanks - and I’m excited after seeing so many Elegant terns in june!

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda

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