Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Eastern Brother’s Island 2014’ Category

The past few weeks on The Brothers Islands have been interesting, mainly because hurricane Arthur came through with winds almost reaching 70 mph. During hurricane Arthur a volunteer biologist, Steve, was out here on the Brothers Islands while Baxter and I were on our break. When Baxter and I returned to the island after our break Steve said the outhouse had blown away 10 feet, and our large observation blind was blown 20 feet. To our surprise the blind had barely taken any damage. All Baxter, Linda, Jim, Steve, and I needed to do was put the stand back up and secure it back into place.

sunset jay

                Baxter and I feared that the tern chicks might not have made it through the hurricane, but surprisingly enough both tern chicks are alive and well. Although the chicks can be sneaky and hard to find hiding in the knee high grass they are both developing at a promising rate.  As you can see from the picture they have grown up so much since they first hatched. The other two tern eggs are completely intact as well, in fact they are both piping. We expect to see them hatched very soon. Every other day we check the tern chick’s productivity which means we measure their wing cord and the weight of the chicks.

 

Baxter took a great photo of the two tern chicks together:

DSC_0100

Just as our tern chicks are developing, so are our guillemot chicks. Many more have hatched, so Baxter and I have started a two day rotation for burrow checks. This allows us to gather more rate of growth information since the chicks grow up so fast. Here is a picture of Baxter measuring the wing cord of a guillemot chick:

DSC_0069

More updates coming soon,

Jason

Read Full Post »

This week at The Brothers Islands we have been preparing for the hatching of guillemot eggs by locating and numbering each barrow with numbered rocks so we can keep track of the nests we need to visit throughout the week. So far in our island egg hunt we have found 52 nests, and each guillemot can have anywhere between 1 to 3 eggs. This is an example of what a numbered guillemot nest would look like:

Rock and guil

About two weeks ago Sara and Jim from the Milbridge office came to visit our island and needed Baxter and I to help them set out floating razorbill decoys. At the time we were all unsure of how affective these decoys would be because of the strong currents tangling them and the rough waves damaging them. To our surprise the decoys held up nicely and real razorbills started noticing and landing with the floating decoys. Before long the razorbills even started visiting our island. The razorbills landed on the rocks and inspected the decoys that were placed on the island. Here is a picture of a razorbill I was able to snap some pictures of it in the water, and later inspecting our island:

 

Razorbill on water

Razorbill standing

Here is a picture of the floating decoys we put out:

Razorbill decoys

Unfortunately we have not yet had any razorbills nest on our island.

 

 

In my free time I have been trying to catch fish. For the first couple of weeks I did not have any luck catching fish so I didn’t think that I was going to be able to catch any fish off the islands. To my surprise, after searching the coast of the island for different places to fish I started catching pollock. They were fairly small but after catching a few Baxter and I made a delicious meal out of them.

Baxter and fish

Until Next time,

Jason

Read Full Post »

Greetings from The Brothers Islands!  It has been an interesting week here on the islands with drastically different weather conditions each day.  Some days were hot sunny and calm and others were rainy with peak winds of over 40 mph.  Spirits have been high however and we have done our best to stay warm and dry as we scramble across rocks looking for visitors to our little slice of Scotland.

Jason and Baxter enjoying a sunny day

Jason and Baxter enjoying a sunny day

The nesting season continues to truck along with dozens of black guillemot nests popping up daily.  Our new common tern pair (or Stewie and Rita as we like to call them) are finally peacefully at home on Eastern Brothers.  Our resident common tern Reggie has even been joining in on protecting their new nest.

Common Tern Pair (Stewie and Rita)

Common Tern Pair (Stewie and Rita)

Stewie and Rita have successfully produced two new eggs in their new nesting spot just a stones throw away from our main tern decoy setup.  We have been keeping tabs on the nest regularly and we are hopeful that they will hatch by the end of the month of June!

Two Tern Eggs

Two Tern Eggs

In other news, for several weeks we had a pair of Canadian geese nesting on Western Brothers and we are excited to say that their 5 eggs have hatched.  Soon after we discovered that the eggs had hatched the pair departed from the island and have not been seen since.  Hopefully the goslings made it through their several mile swim to a safer location on the main land or a neighboring island.

Hatched Goose Eggs

Hatched Goose Eggs

Until next time!

-Baxter

Read Full Post »

It was another exciting week on The Brothers Islands!  We rescued an injured juvenile bald eagle with the help of Jim and Linda from our Milbridge headquarters and the Coast Guard.

Coast guard

On Thursday the 5th of June Jason and I noticed a juvenile bald eagle perched on Western Brothers.  After crossing to Western Jason and I quickly walked to the area where we had spotted the eagle and to our surprise he stood still even when we were only 5 to 10 feet away.  It became very clear that he was having difficulty either walking or getting into the air.  After consulting Sara, one of the Milbridge biologists we decided to leave the bird alone until the morning when a potential rescue could be arranged.

Injured Juvenile Bald Eagle

Injured Juvenile Bald Eagle

The next morning Jason and I spent several hours searching Western Brothers with no luck until suddenly the juvenile casually flew over the tallest hill on the island.  After circling the island gulls began to chase and harass him and it became apparent that he was having difficulty flying.  After the gulls got the eagle over the water he began to get closer and closer to the water until a gull dove at him and kicked his back sending him splashing into the water.  After about an awkward 150 yard swim the eagle managed to reach the shore and started to dry off.

Juvenile Bald Eagle Dries of After a Long Swim

Juvenile Bald Eagle Dries of After a Long Swim

The eagle glided around the intertidal zone between the Eastern and Western Islands and landed on the rocks where it placed its head against its chest.  Once Jim and Linda arrived Jim immediately grabbed a net and began climbing into the intertidal in order to get behind the eagle.  The rest of us slowly worked our way to the front side of the bird and just as Linda raised her head and alerted/distracted the eagle Jim was able to get the net around it.

Jason Holding Bald Eagle

Jason Holding Bald Eagle

Baxter Holding Bald Eagle

Baxter Holding Bald Eagle

The bird was extremely skinny, put up very little fight and was likely on the verge of hypothermia.  Hopefully our efforts were not in vain and this young eagle will be able to successfully hunt on the Maine coastal islands soon.

-Baxter

Read Full Post »

Hello again from The Brothers Islands!
The weather has been drastically changing over the course of the week. Most of our mornings have been wet and foggy which creates a very cool eerie feeling as we conduct our morning count of the Islands.

Foggy day on Eastern Brothers Island

Foggy day on Eastern Brothers Island

The afternoons however have been beautiful, with clear skies and amazing sunsets.

Sunset from Western Brothers

Sunset from Western Brothers

Despite the extremely foggy mornings, quite a bit has happened this week on Eastern Brothers Island. The new common tern pair that has been visiting our island on a regular basis has started copulating. They have also been showing behavior attributed to nest selection and creation. We will be monitoring their progress over the next few days and keeping our fingers crossed for eggs.

The new common tern pair

The new common tern pair

Jason and I also began our first series of black guillemot burrow checks of the season and found 11 eggs. It is truly amazing how small some of the crevices containing eggs are. Hopefully their spelunking efforts will result in healthy protected chicks.

Black guillemot burrow

Black guillemot burrow

Stay tuned for more updates about our flourishing little island.

-Baxter

Read Full Post »

Greetings from the Brothers!  This is Jason’s and my first season working on the islands off the coast of Maine and it has already been a very exciting experience.  The first four days here on the Brothers were so sunny I think we actually got tan believe it or not.  Waking up early every morning and using a small inflatable dingy to cross the small channel to Eastern Brothers has been quite an entertaining experience and surprisingly a dry one too.  After scaling rocks and exploring every nook and cranny reachable on the island I think we are finally becoming true caretakers of this small slice of Scotland.

Looking East to Eastern Brothers Island

Although Bald Eagles greet us every morning it appears that our presence is deterring most of the predators from staying long on the Island.  This is great, especially since hundreds of Black Guillemots have returned to the island.  Their tiny squeaks create an incredible symphony in the mornings which coupled with their awkward water landings makes them quite an interesting bird to monitor.  Although Reggie our resident Common Tern appears to be doing all that is in his power to scare away new Terns that fly to Eastern Brothers we have seen as many as 7 new Common Terns  circling in groups around our decoy setup.  A few pairs have even been bold enough to land for the day.

 

Image

Reggie protecting his decoy friends

I am hopeful that the terns will continue to come back and begin nesting on Eastern Brothers. 

-Baxter

Read Full Post »