It’s a quiet time of year for our island alcids. While many of these birds are sitting on eggs or out in search of food, our island teams have been getting giddy for guillemots. The team on Eastern Egg Rock has been anxiously checking burrows for grubbable guillies. The Matinicus Rock crew found their first Black Guillemot egg and reported 110 Common Murres on the island.
The islands have seen an egg-stravaganza this week, as the tern egg counts continue to climb steadily. Stratton Island terns are beginning to take up residence in the new field and the team marked 65 active Roseate Tern nests on the island. While visiting Outer Green Island, Seabird Sue Schubel spotted a passing tern with an orange band on one leg, indicating it was banded in South America during a recent winter visit. The team on Matinicus Rock found an Artic and Common Tern pair incubating a nest in the same spot a hybrid pair has been seen in years past. Finally, researchers have had plenty of practice with their fish identification during this week’s feeding frenzy. Notable sightings include Red Rock Eel and Atlantic Saury. The consensus from Jenny Island: “Hake is out. Sandlance is so hot right now.” Our fingers are crossed for a fish-filled summer.
Recorded playback surveys revealed that six out of the seven Manx Shearwater burrows checked on Matinicus Rock have early season activity. One Manx walked right up to the survey speaker playing the calls!
A group of 13 White-winged Scoters graced the shores of Jenny Island.
A Snowy Owl made its presence known on Seal Island.
The Stratton Island team spotted the season’s first Eider chicks!
Willie and Millie, our on-cam puffin pair, are doing great with the egg in their burrow. Think you have the perfect name for the puffling-to-be? Submit your recommendations here! In other news, our surprise song sparrow has flown the coop and is no longer assaulting its reflection in the lens of the guillemot burrow camera. As if on cue, following that departure our guillemot pair returned to their burrow and laid an egg in short order. Resident cam expert, Maeve Cosgrove, has been spending time on Seal Island and held a Q & A session with our researchers. Visit explore.org to find out what she has learned!
Spring weather is Maine is notoriously erratic. Fog, rain and wind have limited resighting and productivity stints. Island teams were bracing themselves for a stormy Saturday, but mother nature went easy on our islanders; treating them to a few passing showers and spectacular views of rainbows. Eastern Egg Rock experienced a special seasonal weather event caused by the terns. May 31st will forever be known as the day the poop rained.
While stuck inside, researchers have passed the time making new traps, entering data and preparing flags for the upcoming tern census. Some teams are even getting caught up on their favorite shows, Stranger Things, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Love Island to name a few. Times have sure changed since evening CB radio calls were the only connection to the outside world!