More tern chicks are fledging with each passing day here on Metinic! It is great to walk out into the colony and see the chicks take off into the air rather than running to the tall grass for cover, especially after a couple of weeks of limited food coming in. Some of the older chicks are starting to venture out into the intertidal and over the water; we even saw a fledgling way down at the very southern end of the island when we walked down there one afternoon.
The chicks aren’t the only ones venturing out. This week during a provisioning stint, Mark spotted a roseate tern resting on a rock in the intertidal! While this tern appeared to only be passing through and not a resident, this is still exciting because they are federally endangered, and so it is nice to see that they are at least in the area. This brings our island species list up to 96!
Earlier in the week we spent an afternoon searching for Leach’s storm-petrel burrows. Previously, we had been doing this by smelling holes along the old rock walls as the petrel burrows give off a distinct scent that is described to be like old musty books. After reading on a previous blog that the petrels could also be found by playing their call from our phones and listening for a response from the birds, we were able to find even more burrows. So, a big thank you to our friends on Petit Manan Island for that suggestion, it seems to work well! If you’re curious what a Leach’s storm-petrel sounds like, here is a link to website with audio recordings of them: Click here to get to the website. We do have petrels burrowing underneath our house, so it is funny to hear this at night and periodically during the day!
I’ll leave you with a fun thing happened this week as I was walking along the shore back to the house from checking burrows. I came across a plastic water bottle that looked like it had something inside it, and to my surprise, it was a message in a bottle! It’s true that you never know what you’ll find working out on the Maine coastal islands! I will email whoever sent it out to let them know where we found it!
Other than our continued provisioning, productivity, and guillemot burrow checks, that’s about it for this week!