Posts Tagged ‘comet’

We can finally say what we have been hoping for this entire summer: Ship Island has chicks!


A freshly hatched chick and a pipping one!

We first spotted cracks in some eggshells on the 10th and two days later, we found our first hatched Common Terns! With the late season egg laying and colony abandonment, we were relieved to hear the small, raspy peeps from the nests.


“Feed me!”


A worried parent perched on my head while I banded their chicks

Ever since, we’ve been working non-stop. Already, there are over 70 chicks banded! We have productivity plots set up across the colony that we check every other day. Inside, we keep track off all the eggs in each nest and weigh the chicks every other day to monitor their growth. In just one week, chicks can weigh 6 times heavier than their hatch weight! We also begun provisioning watches to see what food is being brought to the nest, who is being fed, and who is feeding it to them. This data is important to help monitor the health of the colony and what prey species are available in the surrounding ocean.

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When we do have downtime, we have been fascinated by the night sky. As we are several miles from the nearest town, we have little light pollution. Across the northern hemisphere, you might be able to see comet NEOWISE in the northern sky. On the same day we saw our first chicks, Andy and I saw our first comet! The sky was completely clear giving us not only a great view of the spectacle, but also the Milky Way, Jupiter, and Saturn.


The Milky Way, Jupiter (brightest “star”), and Saturn (to the left of Jupiter). Photo by Andy, lights by Percy

As the season continues, we hope to share more excited news with you all!


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