News From the Seabird Islands - August 6, 2002
SPECIAL EVENT! LIVE FROM EASTERN EGG ROCK!! MEET
THE ISLAND STAFF AND SEE LOTS (we hope!) of PUFFINS.
Friday, August 9th on the Internet - www.projectpuffin.org
- From 6:00 a.m. to noon the live streaming video camera will be specially
manned to find the most interesting views of puffins and other seabirds.
At Noon, Project Director Steve Kress will introduce island staff on
camera and chat about their summer with the birds. Meet Ellen Peterson,
Island Supervisor, and other members of her hardy crew. Ellen has been
living on this 7-acre seabird-nesting island since the first week in
TUNE IN! YOUR LAST CHANCE
IN 2002! VIDEO CAMERA COMES DOWN FOR THE SEASON RIGHT AFTER THIS
The Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Outdoor
Heritage Fund have sponsored the camera.
OTHER NEWS FROM THE ISLANDS:
Eastern Egg Rock- As we go into our last week
of field studies, puffin burrows are currently at an all time high count
of 52- a 41% increase over last summer's total count of 37. Puffin chicks
have either left their underground burrows for the open ocean, or are
in their last days of being fed by their parents.
Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge - So far
this summer our island biologists have counted 170 active burrows, 25
more than last year.
Terns on the move- Many terns have already left our
seabird islands on their way to wintering grounds in the southern hemisphere,
and a number of young terns are just trying out their wings for the first
time. Common Terns are on their way to Argentina, Arctic Terns are flying
across the Atlantic to the coast of Africa and then on to Antarctica,
and most Roseate Terns have already departed for the coast of Brazil.
Terns generally migrate in family groups.
ALL ISLANDS - Large numbers of shorebirds are coming through
on their southbound migration. way south. Outer Green Island and Stratton
Island are reporting whimbrels and dowitchers, and all islands are
seeing lots of ruddy turnstones. Two Red Knots were seen among more
than 200 turnstones on Eastern Egg Rock.
News From the Seabird Islands - July 16, 2002
Eastern Egg Rock - Our observant and hardworking
team of biologists have confirmed that at least 41 pairs of Atlantic
Puffins are nesting and all are feeding chicks - an impressive jump
of four pairs over last year's previous record of 37. The final count
of nests will not be determined until mid August as late hatching nests
may still be found. This information was not easily obtained, as it
takes many hours of patiently sitting in small observation blinds placed
among the puffin nesting boulders to see who is breeding with whom,
and where. One five-week-old chick was gently lifted out of its burrow
this week, and is now wearing the letter "R" on a distinctive
black band that will identify it as a native-hatched puffin chick.
Most other chicks are in burrows too deep for the researchers to reach.
Also, the first Common Tern chick fledgling of the year was seen flying
over Eastern Egg Rock today. About a thousand more will soon be on
Outer Green Island - News of the first tern chick
hatching here in 88 years made it in a big way onto the front page of
the Portland Sunday Telegram on July 14th. Under a large headline entitled, "Tern
For the Better," writer Meredith Goad ably chronicled the hard work
and months of perseverance necessary to produce results like this. In
addition to the photogenic and fuzzy little chick, there are 19 other
eggs waiting to hatch. You can read this account online at:
Matinicus Rock - Supervisor Paula Shannon and colleagues have
captured measured and banded 200 Arctic Terns as part of a multi-year
cooperative venture with the Canadian Wildlife Service. Canadian Ph.D.
student Kate Devlin is looking for long-term survival and movement
between Arctic Tern nesting islands. This information will prove helpful
in understanding why Arctic Terns are having a slower recovery than
Common and Roseate Terns.
Seal Island - Supervisor Christine Currant reports
that her team has identified their 100th active puffin burrow. This number
is similar to the number discovered by this date last year, but many
more burrows will likely be discovered in the coming weeks. Her team
has also banded 200 Arctic Tern chicks as part of our research on this
Seabird Cam - The live-streaming seabird camera
at Eastern Egg Rock is now showing large chicks begging for food from
Common and Roseate Terns. Next week we will move this to the puffin nesting
area. Visit Egg Rock via the seabird cam.
Boat tours are now leaving 11 times a week from
New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor on their way to Eastern Egg Rock to see
puffins and terns. Education intern Jackie Borza is narrating many of
the cruises, after spending three exciting weeks on Eastern Egg Rock
as a field biologist. For cruise schedules call the Hardy Boat at 1-800-2-puffin,
or Cap'n Fish at (207) 633-3244.
News From the Seabird Islands - July 5, 2002
First Tern Chick Hatches on Outer Green
Matt Martinkovic proudly announced the hatching of the first chick in
88 years on the morning of July 5th. There are now nine pairs of
Common Terns nesting on Outer Green Island. Terns had not nested
on this Casco Bay island since 1914 because Herring and Great Black-backed
Gulls excluded the smaller, more migratory terns. This summer the
Audubon team dissuaded the gulls from nesting (by using fireworks
called "screamers and bangers"). One hundred life-sized
decoys and nonstop recordings attracted the state-threatened terns
to the island.
Tern Hatch is Underway
Tern eggs are hatching and there are now thousands of little chicks on
Audubon's seven managed islands. Adult terns are extremely busy catching
and bringing in small herring and hake to feed their voracious young,
and island biologists are just as busy banding chicks and measuring
how productive this year's breeding season is turning out to be. Visit
our live-streaming tern camera on Eastern Egg Rock to watch for tern
Egg Rock Puffins
On Eastern Egg Rock, supervisor Ellen Peterson and staff have counted
34 pairs of puffins currently raising young - an exciting jump of 11
pairs over last season's total at this date. Additionally, several
new burrow sites have been seen among the jumble of Egg Rock's boulders,
a discovery which leads us to be cautiously optimistic that last year's
record total of 37 nests will be surpassed this summer. Ellen also
reports that she has confirmed that all of the puffins in the Adopt-a-Puffin
program are back!
Pete Salmansohn wins Award
Education Coordinator Pete Salmansohn received the 2002 Visionary
Award from the Gulf of Maine Council in the Governor's mansion in
Augusta, Maine. Pete received the award for developing our outreach program
to Maine public schools and boat tour program to Eastern Egg Rock. In
the audience were four people who were either instrumental in Pete coming
to Maine 22 years ago, or in collaborating with him on Puffin Project
boat tours and programs - Mike and Margie Shannon, Steve Kress, and Rose
Borzik. In his remarks, Pete said " Working for Audubon has been
one of the greatest privileges of my life."
Murres on Matinicus Rock
Matinicus Rock biologists have seen as many as 30 Common Murres at one
time on the well known seabird cliff known as "the loafing ledge."
A Murre attraction program has been underway for the last ten years there,
and perhaps this summer will see the first Murre egg to be laid on Matinicus
Rock since 1870.
News From the Seabird Islands - June 22, 2002
Are the storms of late Spring finally over? Our seabird
islands were hit hard in mid-June as driving rain and storms coursed
across the Gulf of Maine. On June 15th the wind hit 42 mph on Seal
Island National Widlife Refute, destroying one observation blind.
The wind chill hit an unseasonable 22 degrees. Matinicus Rock also
lost a bird blind, and about 100 tern nests were lost on Stratton
Island by extreme storm action. The cold temperatures and rain kept
our biologists from going about their busy research schedule, but now,
during the first days of summer, the weather pattern seems to have changed
and sunny warm days are with us.
Tern censuses have just been completed, and island supervisors
are working on final totals. Seal Island reports a record 2,614
nests - a jump of some 500 nests since last summer. Pond Island terns
are now guarding 109 nests, which is down slightly from last year, but
is a rebound from low numbers in May.
Outer Green Island was visited by a television
camera crew from Portland channel 8, and Matt Martinkovic is on his way
to being a new wildlife film star. The single tern nest there now has
3 eggs in it, a jump from the single egg reported in our last newsletter.
This is the first tern nest on Outer Green Island since 1914 and offers
encouragement that this new project will eventually lead to a thriving
new tern colony.
Puffin nesting is being monitored on our three puffin
islands - Eastern Egg Rock; Seal Island; and Matinicus
Rock. Ellen Petersen, supervisor on Egg Rock, reports that there
are 21 active puffin burrows so far, and more being observed every day.
School visits are over for the year, and on the last
full day of classes, Pete Salmansohn was teaching 3rd graders in Bristol
how to use binoculars and understand the concept of field marks. Students
got a good look at a herring gull perched on the school's brick chimney.
Seabird Sue Schubel and Pete are now busy creating a new curriculum archiving
live video footage of terns and their chicks for use in classes this
Seabird Camera is on the Internet. Focused on
incubating terns. Tern eggs are hatching this week. Watch for the first
chicks to make their appearance on our real time, streaming video. Click
here to access the camera.
from Past Seasons: