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Archive for July 26th, 2017

We’re down to our final day on Ship Island. This week was filled with all of that picking-up and sorting-out craziness that comes with closing down an island. We’ve done a lot of work from taking down the blinds, provisioning plots, mink and owl traps, to cleaning up the cabin, to entering last minute data into our spreadsheets, and more.

Being on Ship was a completely new experience for me. This summer was my first time working with seabirds and I’ve learned SO much about them as well as many of the other breeding species we see almost on a daily basis (e.g. Common Eiders, Spotted Sandpipers, Double-crested Cormorants, Peregrine Falcons, sparrows, warblers, Harbor Seals, and more). Not only this, but I learned a ton of new field work techniques. Here I got to do lots of “firsts.” I got to help diminish an invasive plant species from the island, re-capture my first bird, re-sight my first bird, band my first chick, saw over 50 species that were new to me, and the list goes on and on.

Living on an island was definitely an interesting yet exciting adventure, and it was surprisingly much easier to get used to the “island life” than I thought. I can say that I’ll miss it at times. There’s something about the quiet nights, sunsets, and escape from all the busyness back on the mainland that makes it special. I’ve also learned to never take my warm showers, cozy bed, and tasty dinners back at home for granted, that’s for sure.

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View of Ship Island from one of the blinds

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As for our terns, we’re seeing more fledglings every day and still even some newly hatched chicks. We’ve continued our predator control efforts up until the very last minute. It’s especially important now that we have chicks because they’re an easy catch if they’re not hidden well in the vegetation. It seems that the peregrine is coming more frequently because of this. Sometimes we see it over 4 times in one day!

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Common Terns hangin’ out

It’s been an eventful year on Ship, and it’s sad to see it come to an end. Soon our terns will be departing for their long southern migration and will return again next spring! Hopefully next year there will be less disturbance and more chicks! Thanks for letting me share our research and island experiences with you, and thanks for reading!

-Amanda

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One of our last sunsets on Ship!

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