Archive for June 5th, 2017

After spending a few days in sunny Florida for a beautiful wedding, it’s good to be back on chilly Metinic Island!


Herring gulls near their nests

Aya and I jumped right into gull census when I returned so we could get a count of nests before they started hatching. This consisted of walking a large area of the island counting nests, number of eggs and identifying whether the nest belonged to a great black-back gull or a herring gull. The gulls nest along the shore and in small openings in shrubby areas on the hillside. This meant that Aya and I had to climb through some pretty dense bushes to reach some of these areas. It took us much longer than I had expected to finish census because of this and we both walked away with a few minor bruise and scratches! After two and a half days we counted a total of 155 herring gull, 6 great black-backed gull, 9 common eider nests and 1 mallard nest.


Herring gull nest found during census

The last few days we have been working in the tern colony where we have been marking tern nests to species. Metinic has a mixed species colony of common and arctic terns and to determine population estimates for both we sample around 25 percent of the colony to calculate a species ratio. To identify the species of the nest we sit in observation blinds and wait for the parents to return to the nest. Arctic and common terns have different colored bills along with a few other subtle differences that allow us to identify them. Our marked nests will be counted during tern census in mid-June.



Arctic tern with blood red bill


Common tern with black tipped bill

We have also been searching for black guillemot burrows along the rocky shoreline. Coming up later this week we will be joined by refuge staff to help us with tern trapping. More on that next time!




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