Thursday, June 5, 2014

Maine Coastal Islands NWR

Hey! It's Rose here again on Ship Island. I'm happy to say that I have learned quite a bit about researching birds since I have started. We have now established a daily routine and adjust accordingly to the weather and bird activity. Most days we start off by surveying the birds that are on the island at 7 AM. I have learned learned how to use "alpha" codes and collect data more efficiently. I am also getting better at identifying the birds from farther distances, either from the bird's shape/color or their behavior.

A Common Tern eating a Herring
A Rag or Clam Worm (about 8")
About every three days we also spend a couple hours in our blind stands. This is a great time to record bird behavior and what type of food the birds are returning with. Typically, we see terns go for herring but currently we are seeing a large consumption of Rag or Clam Worms.

On nice days we are able to enter the tern colony and identify tern nests. On 5/29 we found our first egg and the number of nests have grown to 63! I'm currently learning how to estimate flock sizes ( which takes some getting use to), but we currently have about 150 terns consistently on the island. The work is exciting but you have to be careful, as the eggs are well camouflaged and easily stepped on if no care is taken.

Me, labeling a tern nest.
A snail sneaked into a Song Sparrow nest.
While keeping track of the Common Terns here, we also get to record the different birds nesting here. So far we have found warblers, sparrows, Spotted Sandpipers, and Mallards nesting here. Some of the sparrow and Mallard nests have hatched already, but others are still waiting.

Oh and here are some of the seals on the neighboring island, East Barge. Sorry he is a little blurry, it's through a scope.

No comments: