Date: 4/1/17 4:43 pm
From: RALPH ELDRIDGE <lightrae1...>
Subject: [Maine-birds] MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT
Continued low temperatures, a raw North East wind of over 20 knots and an
overcast sky combined to make a day that was uninviting to be outside. So,
aside from a couple brief excursions into the out-of-doors, I did my
observing from the comfort of the house.
Bird-wise there doesn't seem to be a lot of change since yesterday. The
number of FOX & SAVANNAH SPARROWS seems to have increased a bit. I'm still
seeing lots of IPSWICH type Savannahs and today there are two extremely
light red Fox Sparrows.

Yesterday's lawn full of ROBINS has disappeared and I've only seen 1 all
day.

COMMON MURRES did arrive last night and quite a few remained throughout the
day while the RAZORBILLS departed.

Today, the Razorbills came in fairly early, landing about 3 PM.

I'm not surprised by the total lack of PUFFINS. It is early for them.

An arrival pattern has developed in step with the Razorbill population
growth.
In the early days of Razorbill colonization on MSI they followed the cycles
of the much larger Puffin colony.
They would raft and come ashore in a single mixed flock, around mid-April,
according to the Puffin's timing.
Gradually the Razorbill's arrival around the island became earlier and
earlier but the actual island landing still didn't occur until the majority
of the Puffins had arrived. (During this time the Murres were on their
rapid growth and joined the other Alcids for the mass landing on the
island.)
In the recent few years the 1st mass landings have been in March and
comprised entirely of Razorbills and Murres.
Typically, they will only stay for a few days and then pretty much
disappear for a variable period. When they return, all 3 Alcid species
(Puffin, Razorbill & Murre) make nightly mass landings as a single mixed
flock.

Although we refer to THE colony, different parts of the island host
separate colonies which follow their own schedules. The most distinct
colony is the North East section ( area on your right when you land on the
island). The birds that belong to that section are routinely up to a week
later coming ashore than the rest of the island. Also, It's only recently
that Razorbills started to nest there and they still wait until the Puffins
arrive and they all land together; the same scenario as we saw with the
main colony.

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