This week has been an exciting week for the Brothers Islands. Not only have we switched island technicians (Baxter has switched with Rose from Ship Island for the week), but tern eggs have hatched and we have two little tern chicks! It has been years since tern chicks have been recorded on the Brothers Islands so it is a big success for us. The parents of the chicks have become very protective of their chicks and have been observed chasing gulls, ravens, and even a few bald eagles. When Rose and I go to check for the chicks the terns start dive-bombing us and screeching, apparently they don’t enjoy our company too much.
Tern Chick just poking his beak through his shell
On another positive note we have regularly been seeing four or more terns when we do our observations, which means there is a least one additional tern pair that is interested in our colony. These new additions of terns are usually around to help protect the chicks. We haven’t been able to determine if there are more than three terns nesting on this island yet but it seems very possible.
Two tern chicks fully hatched
Not only have we been seeing more terns on Eastern Brothers, we have been seeing more razorbills as well. It is not uncommon for us to see a few razorbills each day now, where earlier this summer it was rare. Rose saw seven razorbills swimming with the floating decoys at one point this week. I observed 2 razorbills scouting out Eastern Brothers together which gives me some hope of razorbill inhabitance.
The moon and the sun together on a beautiful day
For our guillemot burrow research we cover all of the burrows on Eastern and Western Brothers, that we have found, in a week’s time. The sections of the island are done in a three day rotation. Today for the first time we heard and saw a guillemot egg piping, the guillemot hadn’t quite made it out of his shell yet, but will be next time we check that section of burrows.
Until next week,
Jason and Rose