Hello again from Ship Island! Last Friday, the 14th, we conducted an island-wide Common Tern census to determine just how many birds and nests we have here on Ship. Conducting a census involves several people walking together in a line, looking for and recording every active nest. At the completion, we took turns guessing how many there were and came up with numbers like 300 and 350. To our astonishment, after all the corrections were applied, we ended up with a whopping 436 nests! This is 185 nests more than last year, and they are still laying. Needless to say, the Ship Island colony is growing and thriving. We even spotted a four-egg clutch! Normally, Common Terns lay between 1-3 eggs, so finding a 4-egg nest is unusual.
In other exciting news, we have seen 3 clutches of Mallard ducklings already, and yesterday spotted our first Common Eider ducklings! I stumbled upon some mallards in the marsh and couldn’t help snapping a quick photo before letting him run off after his family.
Yesterday we had an Osprey fly right through the tern colony with a fish in his talons. Osprey don’t prey on terns, and he was already packing his lunch, but the terns mobbed him away just the same. He hurried right out of there as fast as he could go!