We are packing our gear and cleaning the cabin! Jennie and I head back to the mainland today and we wanted to give you one last update on our season.
The Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group (GOMSWG) census was started on June 17, 2011, and finished on June 20, 2011. The Tern nest count for the census was 484, with a Lincoln Index of 1.029, resulting in a corrected total of 498 Tern nests on the North End of Metinic. This represents about two thirds of last year’s population. Common Tern nests were marked with a blue flag, while Arctic Tern nests were marked with a red flag. On the NE Point we identified 307 of 498 nests (61% of NE Point colony). We counted 122 ARTE, 185 COTE nests. We estimated that the colony was comprised of 40% Common Terns, 60% Arctic Terns. The South End of the island is privately owned and was surveyed by boat, 2 pairs of Terns were present, but no nests were confirmed.
Fledging/reproductive success was low this year for Arctic Terns (under the 1 chick/nest USFWS goal), but Common Tern productivity improved from last year and met this goal. The Arctic Terns suffered from widespread predation events early in the season which resulted in the loss of many eggs and young chicks.
We were able to follow 6 Common tern and 8 Arctic Tern nests throughout the season, for a total of 96 observational hours and 599 feedings. COTEs fed at an average rate of 1.6 feedings/hour, while ARTEs fed at 0.7 feedings/hour. Both Arctic and Common Terns delivered Atlantic Herring most frequently to their chicks consisting of about 55%and 30% of their diet respectively. Butterfish was the next most frequent delivery for both species, making up about 30% of deliveries. Herring deliveries gradually declined and butterfish deliveries gradually increased as the season progressed. Feedings overall slowed considerably starting in the third week of July especially for Arctic Terns.
32 Guillemot nests were located with a hatch success of 62% and an egg depredation rate of 12.9%. This data is not a complete set because of the number of guillemots incubating through all checks. Three adults were still incubating at the end of July, so hatch success could be higher than calculated. 19 chicks were found and 14 were banded, weighed, and measured.
53 Leach’s Storm-petrel burrows showed signs of activity (smell, fresh piled dirt, activity at night) early in the season, however only 7 were noted to have eggs or adults present at the end of July. At the end of our field season, 17 burrows were no longer active and 29 still showed some activity yet nothing could be seen with the burrow scope.
Eider numbers were very low this year averaging only 50-100 eiders at each morning count. Previous years Eiders had averaged between 150 and 300 for morning counts. Only 30 observations of eider crèches were documented (at least 4 separate crèches). Five eiders were banded by USGS and MDIFW.
Species highlights: Northern Gannett, American Oystercatcher, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, Whimbrel.
We had a tremendous amount of fun out here this summer, and we hope you all enjoyed being able to follow along! If we peaked your intrest and you would like to get involved or support our efforts makes sure to check out the Friends of Maine Seabird Islands site: http://maineseabirds.org/html/home.html!
-The Metinic Crew