We’ve got tern fledglings on Metinic! After a few breezy days of large chicks jumping up and flapping, some have finally gotten airborne. While not as sleek or acrobatic as their parents, the somewhat pudgy fledglings are still capable fliers. They are still returning to their nests to get fed, but then fly off instead of running into the grass with the smaller chicks. Even as our first chicks take to the air, more chicks keep hatching, so we’ll continue to be busy for the next few weeks.
As if to make up for the splendid weather we’ve had most of the season, the dreary fog and rain has finally been keeping us inside. It’s best to keep off the tern colony when it is cool and wet so the parents can keep their chicks warm and dry instead of flying at us. The weather has given us a good opportunity to catch up on data entry and stay warm around the wood stove, at least whenever we aren’t heading off persistent colony-bound sheep.
During breaks in the dismal weather, we’ve gotten out to check on our growing guillemot chicks. They’re starting to get pretty big and hiding deep enough in their burrows that it has become a bit of a challenge to get some of them out to weigh them and measure their wing chord. While wedged in the rocks with my arm deep inside an active guillemot burrow, I spotted our first whimbrels of the season on the beach. That brings our island species list up to 95 with a passing puffin spotted during provisioning. We’re hoping to reach 100 species before the end of the season, and it certainly seems within reach.
Until next time!