Greetings from Mary and Jake on Eastern and Western Brother’s! This is the first summer for both of us working with the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge and we are really excited to be here on “our” island. We were launched out from Jonesport, Maine on a truly downeast day: rain pelting our faces, swells rolling across the bay, and fog blanketing the coast. The Refuge staff helped unload our gear, gave us a quick tour of the islands, and then waved good-bye with haste as the weather was only going to deteriorate.
The storm that then moved in created 10 foot southerly swells that crashed like huge geysers up the 60-70 foot cliffs on Eastern Brothers. We survived the storm and here we are two weeks in to exploring and marveling at the beauty our islands have to offer.
Through our morning counts, alcid watches, tern stints and personal explorations we have discovered a lot already about our island habitat. First and most prominent, our black guillemot colony is thriving. Daily we watch the hundreds of birds circling and nodding in courtship behavior. We have found several burrows with eggs and it seems as though the “big push” is still to come.
Also to note, the single common tern (known as Reggie) that has resided in the tern colony previous years has returned. While he seems more than content loafing on the rocks and foraging huge fish for himself, we are slightly worried that he might have an existential breakdown. “Why don’t they fly with me? Why are they never hungry?” These can only be the questions Reggie asks himself day to day.
Here’s to a summer full of seabirds and many more beautiful sunsets on the coast of Maine! ~Mary and Jake