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Archive for May 23rd, 2018

IMG_2959The first week on Metinic Island is complete, and what a week it has been! We’ve found the first common eider, black guillemot, spotted sandpiper and savannah sparrow nests. The terns are settling onto the island, and hopefully we’ll have our first nests this weekend. And migration is still going strong!

We thought we should introduce ourselves briefly before we get too distracted telling you about the birds we’ve seen. Nick began birding when he was 6 years old and has just finished his first year at the University of Maine, where he is studying wildlife ecology and forest recreation management. Nora has spent the last three years at Humboldt State University, CA, where she completed a master’s degree in wildlife, studying survival in snowy plovers.

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Migration on the island has been spectacular. In the last week, we’ve recorded 111 species, including 18 species of warbler. Highlights have included a pair of harlequin ducks, cape may warblers, bay-breasted warblers, yellow-breasted chat and male Baltimore oriole. On the morning walk, there can be 20 birds in a single tree, and vireos feeding in the bay berry bushes. It can be deafening to listen to all the birds singing at once. There are times when northern parula, red-eyed vireos, (myrtle) yellow-rumped warblers, and American redstarts are in a single tree.

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When we aren’t looking at birds, we are working to improve the habitat for the terns. We’ve caught nine common garter snakes that have been released on the mainland. We catch the snakes and harass gulls in the colony because they prey on tern eggs. As migration continues and the terns begin laying eggs, we look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you!

-Nick and Nora

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