Archive for the ‘Metinic 2010’ Category

The blinds are coming down, flags pulled up, and the tern colony is increasingly moving from the nesting site into the intertidal as they prepare for their long and arduous venture south.

Though data is still being entered and processed we thought we’d give you a  snipit of our season…

  • Over 750 pairs of Common (52%) and Arctic (48%) terns nested on Metinic this year!!!
  • 1 Roseate Tern pair established a nest yet then abandoned (probably, in part, due to constant common tern harassment)

Roseate tern pair being harassed at their nesting site by a common tern neighbor

Flying pair of common terns

  • Feedings appeared to be slim pickings as many many butterfish came in for a couple of weeks straight.  This rendered almost all the 2nd and 3rd hatched from a clutch helpless in getting enough food for survival.  There were also many invertebrates, stickle back, and other very small fish coming in.  Where were all the herring?

Young tern chick trying to get down a butterfish

  The colony also experienced predation; regularly from a peregrine falcon, at least occasionally from an owl (determined by a few of her feathers left behind and the remnants of her meal), and, later in the season, by herring and great black-backed gulls.

Peregrine Falcon

    Great black-backed gull eating a tern chick

    Herring Gull Chick

    • Though the actual fledge rates have yet to be determined there are many awkward crazy haired flyers about.

    First flight of a common tern fledger

    Other work, besides enjoying the terns, includes evaluating the productivity of Leach’s Storm Petrels who nest within burrows on the island.

    Leach's Storm Petrel

    And monitoring black Guillemot reproductive rates/productivity. We are watching 40+ nests in which chicks are currently being measured, weighed, and banded.

    Black Guillemot Adult

    Field Technician Charlie Walsh measuring wing cord on a black guillemot chick

    We could probably go on indefinitely about the happenings in the colony and the lives of those we’ve been watching since they first pipped out of their egg shells  (we have spent way too much time in the presence of only birds!)  However, we will leave it here…with the anticipation of a hot shower, washing machine and the ending of a great season.

    Home and the tern colony at sunrise

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