Posts Tagged ‘First Egg’

It’s been a little over a week since I first came to Petit Manan Island, and I’m already in love with it. Before coming, I was a little skeptical about climbing the second tallest lighthouse in Maine twice a day to do tower counts, as well as the 3-mile foghorn that goes off roughly every 30 seconds, 24/7. I have definitely gotten used to the heights and the foghorn, the latter becoming more like a calming constant throughout the day, much like the constant ticking of a wall clock, only bigger, and much louder. Other than getting used to the ins-and-outs of island life, bird activity has been slow. Generally, the terns and alcids are here during the morning but leave to forage for most of the day, only coming back to roost just as the last rays of light are disappearing over the horizon. When the birds are here though, we are seeing more and more nesting behavior, including courtship displays, copulation, and scraping. We have already found our first eggs of the season, eider, tern, and puffin! I’m excited for the season to really ramp up and to find a lot more nests in the coming week.

PMI_2017_May23_First Tern Egg

First tern nest found of the season, 5/23/2017.

— Bradford



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Arctic Tern Egg- First egg of the season!

Good news! The first tern eggs of the season have arrived on Metinic Island. Soon all of the eggs will be laid and the incubation period will start. Terns usually lay from 2-4 eggs one at a time until they are all laid. Because the terns are colonial breeders it is advantageous to them to all lay their eggs around the same time. This reduces the chances of predation through the protection of sheer numbers. We are excited to see the first eggs because this means the busy season is on its way. This past week we put together the three blinds on the island and have begun to record sightings of banded birds.

Inside the blind using a scope to read bands

Because we live on an island there are some things we have to do differently that many people take for granted. We thought it would be interesting to show you how we accomplish some of these everyday tasks. Today we will give you our step-by-step guide on how to clean the dishes with no running water:

Step one- retrieve water from well

Step two- fill pot

Step three- boil water in pot using propane stove

Step four- pour boiling water into two tubs; one for washing and one for rinsing.

Step five- clean the dishes

And then you are done! 🙂

So long for now,
Katie and Chelsea

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Metinic's first egg!

A pair of Arctic Terns between copulation attempts.

Finishing in a close second, we found our first egg this morning on Metinic! Petit Manan did a fantastic job discussing the Tern egg and its camouflage (see below), so we won’t bore you with repetition and instead highlight a few differences. This little gem belongs to an Arctic Tern, and here on Metinic they prefer to nest on the exposed granite ledges in the center of the colony.

On one of the many granite outcroppings, the egg has very little protection from the elements or predation.

Many times there is almost nothing to an Arctic Tern nest, and the eggs will just sit in a rocky depression.  Here the camouflage does very little for the egg’s protection, but being located in the center of the nesting area provides enough protection in itself.  Terns are aggressively territorial so most nest predation occurs on the colony fringes.  These Arctic Terns rely on a buffer from their even more aggressive Common Tern neighbors to chase off predators before getting to their eggs.

Looking forward to an Easter egg hunt as June begins!

Metinic Crew (Charlie Walsh, Jennie Wiacek, and special guests Courtney Viall, and Adrienne Leppold)

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