With the remnants of a tropical storm currently passing through, it seems like a good time to reflect on the events of the past week or so out here on Metinic Island. Our focus is shifting from eggs to birds, as more are hatching everyday. We’ve managed to set up productivity plots to monitor a portion of the tern chicks as they go through their growing-up process from hatchling to fledgeling. We’ve also conducted the yearly census to find out exactly how many nests we have, and it’s a solid 25% increase over last year!
Adding to the good news of nest numbers being higher, we found that the first tern chick hatched on Friday. Over the next couple of weeks the rest of the colony, which consists of both common and arctic terns, will follow suit, with the parents bringing the newborns loads of herring and other fish for them to munch on as they rapidly grow to full size.
The calm before the (current) storm brought great weather to the area. We took advantage of it and managed to trap 19 terns, all of which received shiny ID bands, if they didn’t have them already, and nanotags. These little devices that get attached to the birds’ backs will help tell us where they are going to feed and, more importantly, exactly what route they take during their migration halfway around the world to southern Africa and South America.
Things are looking good out here, and the season is going about as smoothly as possible. Hopefully over the next month and change things continue to go the terns’ way, with lots of plump fish being brought in and lots of tern chicks learning to fly!