The season is heating up out on Petit Manan, especially now that we have tern chicks to monitor! Usually we have projects to keep us on our toes every moment of the day: first thing in the morning we count seabirds from the lighthouse tower, then we’re on to weighing and banding tern chicks, reading identification bands on adults, looking for Roseate terns, and keeping an eye out for any predators. So, we’re pretty busy… at least, when the weather cooperates…
But on days like today when the temperature outside barely reaches 50 F, winds are gusting over 15mph, and it’s spitting cold rain on and off, well, our days are a bit different.
We avoid going out into the tern colony when it is wet and cold since it disturbs the birds that are incubating eggs or caring for their chicks. When they are frightened off their nests, even briefly, their eggs and/or chicks can get chilled, which may impede development inside the eggs, and chicks can get hypothermia.
So we are stuck in the house. Needless to say, we all love being out in the field, but we’ve become very adept at keeping ourselves busy indoors! Here are a few of the activities that keep us preoccupied:
Priority #1 on a really cold day is keeping the wood stove going!
All of the observations that we make are added to databases or excel files, so there is always data entry to be done.
Good researchers take pride in their facilities, which is certainly the case here at the William H. Drury Jr. Biological Research Station. We keep our work and living space tidy, but we’ve also undertaken a larger project of painting the entire inside of the two-story building! It’s quite an endeavor, but perfect for rainy days like today.
Food is also a really big deal. “Family Dinners” are an important part of our day. Everyone on Petit Manan loves food, and cooking is a great rainy-day pass-time!
We also have time for reading – both educative and leisurely. Collectively we’ve read at least 14 books, including great titles like The Big Year by Mark Obmascik, Life Between the Tides by Les Watling, Jill Fegley, and John Moring, Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore, and Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.
Yes, so all and all, “in-house days” aren’t so bad, but it looks like the sun’s peeking out, better get ready to head into the field!