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Archive for June 30th, 2014

We’re up to our elbows in chicks out on Metinic. In my last post, I mentioned that our tern chicks have started to hatch. A week later, our little fluffy friends are growing up fast.

Arctic Tern Chick

Arctic Tern Chick

We can often see our older chicks testing out their wings, although they are still a long way from being airborne.

An Arctic Tern chicks, stretching its wings

An Arctic Tern chicks, stretching its wings

Our resident Savannah Sparrows also have chicks of their own. These buzzy-sounding birds build a classic cup-shaped nest in grass on the ground. It can be easy to miss until you see the five squawking mouths.

A nest full of Savannah Sparrow chicks

A nest full of Savannah Sparrow chicks

Spotted Sandpipers are Metinic’s only nesting shorebird this year, and our first sandpiper chicks have made an appearance. Despite their small size and their resemblance to a cotton ball standing on a pair of toothpicks, these chicks are up and running around by day one. They do have a parent around to keep them out of trouble though!

Spotted Sandpiper adult (left) and chick (right)

Spotted Sandpiper adult (left) and chick (right)

Finally, we found our first Black Guillemot chicks. It’s hard not to love these little black puffballs. Guillemots are also the only alcid to lay two eggs at once, so guillemot chicks usually come in pairs.

Our first pair of Black Guillemot chicks

Our first pair of Black Guillemot chicks

Of course, Syd and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun of Guillemot Appreciation Day, so we celebrated in the most delicious way we could!

Our tasty guillemot cake

Our tasty guillemot cake

More updates as our chicks continue to grow!

 

-Amy

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When you live on an island for a summer it is quite a big deal when you get to step off your island for any period of time.  We have found here on Ship Island that even going out in our rowboat a few hundred feet from shore to pick up a grocery delivery can give you a totally new perspective for the day.  Having been on the island for over 6 weeks now, it was a treat for me to tag along with Jim (our boat operator/maintenance/all around go to guy) on the Blue Hill Bay Census.  While all the islands we have staff living on are surveyed during the GOMSWG census, Jim has the duty of boating the various bays and inlets up and down the coast searching areas where seabirds have nested historically and recently.  Here is a picture leaving Ship Island…

ImageJim and I did a four hour loop throughout the Blue Hill Bay region stopping to look at places such as Sand Island, The Nub, Goose Rock, Indian Point ledges, Folly Island, and The Hub.  We were excited to report a thriving little colony of around 150-200 Common Terns on Conary Nub.  Not only did we discover a 4-egg clutch (fairly rare), but also more developed chicks than here on Ship Island, suggesting they hatched around a week and a half earlier.

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Finally, while this may sound a bit crazy to all our readers out there who live on the mainland, I would like to comment on how wonderful it was to see trees and to smell trees.  While we have various types of vegetation out here, including fragrant sea roses, wild irises, and rustling tall grasses, none of them really add up to having a “tree” status.  We do have a groove of chokecherry “trees” and our giant cow parsnip is now at least 6 feet tall, but it’s just not the same as a spruce/fir forest.  Here is a view of a typical spruce studded island called The Hub off Bartlett Island with the mountains of western Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park) in the background.

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Cheers!

Mary

 

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