Archive for June 22nd, 2020

Hello from Metinic!

Sequoia here with this week’s blog. Last Wednesday the 17th we had staff come out to the island to assist us with the GOMSWG census. During this census we identified all nests in the colony. This year we counted 910 tern nests, this is a record for Metinic! This number is also lower than the actual nests present because no matter how hard we try we aren’t perfect at detecting nests. To account for error we use the Lincoln Index which is a form of mark recapture, where we go out and see what percent of the nests were missed. Once this correction was applied we have an estimated 1,021 nests on the island!

We also had some exciting things happen during our census. We found a Leach’s Storm-Petrel, a Savannah Sparrow chick evading a snake who had already caught its sibling, and a few Spotted Sandpiper chicks running around on their stilt-like legs.

Other exciting news, we had our first chick hatch on Friday! An Artic tern chick was the first to be found in our productivity plot. We nicknamed him Eddy due to the fact that Eddy Edwards, the Deputy Refuge Manager, had the closest guess to the number of nests on the island, which we all thought was a bit high but were proven wrong. Friday afternoon and into the weekend we had many chicks hatching, so now we are getting into the grove of weighing, measuring and banding each chick in our productivity plots.

Through all of our adventures we are sometimes lucky enough to be fueled by the homemade snacks that Carol sends out to us, which we greatly appreciate!

Until next time.

COTE's flying

Common Terns tend to be the more tenacious nest protectors. This photo was taken while measuring chicks and getting hit by the parents.

Snake Eating SAVS

This is a good example of Garter Snake predation on Metinic. It’s munching on a unlucky Savannah Sparrow chick. We’ve sent 31 snakes back to the mainland so far this year.

COTE Chick Bum

“You can’t see me”

ARTE Chick with Egg (EDDY)

Eddy, our first chick on the island. Here he is 24 hours old.

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It’s time to band tern chicks on PMI, and we have too many to count!

Petit Manan’s first chick this season, an arctic tern, hatched in one of our productivity plots on the 17th. So far he’s our largest chick, and definitely the fan favorite. Since then, dozens of chicks have appeared all over the island. They’re quite talented at hiding, so we watch where we’re walking! In addition to the tern chicks, we’ve witnessed fledgling savannah sparrows clumsily learn to fly, and highly mobile spotted sandpiper chicks teetering around the rockweed.


PMI’s first chick of the 2020 season: “B-Chick” in productivity plot B.


A spotted sandpiper chick walking around at low tide, bobbing its tail with every step.

The chicks aren’t the only new arrivals to the island; we’ve also had our first tour boats of the season passing through to get a nice view of the seabirds and Petit Manan Light. On the 20th, we had the chance to see some northern gannets cruising offshore while an island tour boat viewed a group of puffins, razorbills, and murre at Puffin Point. At the same time, a dozen seals enjoyed the sunny day on Green Island’s rocks. Their calls could be heard from all the way from the lighthouse!

In the meantime, we completed our island census and found over 1,000 active tern nests scattered across the island! Some are nearly built bowl nests in Canada mayflower, while others are made on bare rock by the shore. So far our favorite nest is from a common tern that has laid eggs right in front of the outhouse. Banding and weighing the chicks in our productivity plots is the greatest highlight of the day, and we can’t wait to see them grow over the remainder of the season. When we finished our productivity plots we had 100 total eggs, so we’ll have our hands full when the rest hatch!

28 chicks already banded, 72 to go!

Joe with Chick

Joe with B-Chick

Amanda with Chick

Amanda with B-Chick

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