Archive for June 7th, 2020

Welcome to Ship Island!

My name is Andy Eckerson, I am from a small town in southeastern Massachusetts and stationed here on Ship Island. I’m a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying natural resources and conservation with a focus on wildlife ecology. When I am not engulfed in academia/summer positions I enjoy birding, rock climbing, trail running, and essentially anything involving the outdoors.

And I’m Percy Ulsamer! I’m from Connecticut and am currently a junior at Unity College studying Wildlife Biology with a minor in Zoology. I dream of becoming a field ornithologist with a particular focus on researching corvids and endemic island species! When not birding, I’m also a photographer, artist, and gamer. This season, I’m especially excited to learn new skills and help out with seabird research!


Andy (left) and Percy (right) in front of the Ship Island cabin!

Upon arrival, we observed ~150 Common Terns present during the mornings, although, they would disappear by noon. Slowly but surely the number grew up to a current ~350 spending the day and night on Ship Island. We have located and marked 100 Common Tern nests in order to monitor predator activity and eventually tern productivity.

The terns have experienced very little predation so far, although, we expect the Peregrine Falcon visits to increase as the need to feed their young does. On the other hand, the Trumpet Island gull colony has experienced a significant amount of predation attempts from Common Ravens and Bald Eagles. We continue to keep an eye on Ship, the Barges, and Trumpet Island in order to monitor the predator activity.

Since Percy and I are both avid birders we have had the delight of documenting the wide variety of species on Ship, the Barge’s, and Trumpet island as well as Blue Hill Bay. So far we have documented 77 species including a great variety of shorebirds and songbirds! Here is the link to the Ship Island eBird hotspot: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L11450199 .


Bay-breasted Warbler taking a rest on our front lawn!


Least Flycatcher

We are both excited for the remainder of the season and especially hatching tern chicks!


Andy and Percy


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