It was a wet start to June, with the first few days being complete washouts. The rain, along with unseasonably cool temperatures, has made for a slow week on the island; not that that’s a bad thing. Sitting by the wood stove with a good book (The Sibley Guide to Birds) or watching a movie (The Big Year) makes for a relaxing change of pace to get our minds off of work for a while.
After a late start to the season, the terns here on Metinic Island are finally settling in, with the first eggs being laid about a week ago. Since then, nests have been popping up all over the place, and birds are still finding their way to the island for the season, which means there are still many more nests to be made!
It seems that some of the common eiders, a species of sea duck that can be found nesting on many New England islands, got around to laying their eggs early, as ducklings have already been seen following their mother around in the island’s coves.
While terns, gulls, guillemots and eiders are the main inhabitants on Metinic, there are many other birds nesting out here as well, including sandpipers, storm petrels, and even a pair of bald eagles! We’ve noticed the little sandpipers like to tuck their eggs under tufts of grass along the shoreline near the tern colony, presumably to let the terns do all the work fending off hungry gulls for them, whereas the eagles have made their huge six-foot-wide home in the most inaccessible treetops of the forest.
With the wide variety of bird life on the island, there’s a seemingly endless supply of species to see. It’s a good thing it’s still early on in the field season, as there’s still lots of exploring to do.