Date: 7/16/17 6:36 pm
From: Karen Burke <karendowneast...>
Subject: [Maine-birds] Re: MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT
Another enjoyable post - thank you Ralph.

On Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 10:54:51 AM UTC-4, RALPH ELDRIDGE wrote:
>
> Well, the summer is chugging along and the breeding species seem to be
> doing fairly well. The weather has been pretty good, for the most part, and
> food appears to be reasonably plentiful although not always the best
> quality.
>
> Some of the Terns have fledged and others should follow every day from now
> on.
> We do see individuals that exhibit retarded or interrupted development but
> those sometimes make surprising comebacks. Some simply disappear, whether
> by predation or just perishing in the heavy vegetation, their fate is total
> speculation.
> There are chicks of every age, eggs beginning incubation and eggs just
> hatching.
> Overall, it looks as if the Terns will end the season on a high note with
> a fairly successful year.
> Terns from from 2014, '15 & '16 are showing up. It's encouraging to see
> those returning along with older, pre-crash birds.
>
> Clear, dry and moderately warm weather is good for the Tern chicks. It
> likely helps the parents in their foraging, too.
> The downside, though, is that clear weather frequently brings PEREGRINES
> with their attendant colony disruption and potential killing of Tern
> parents. A single-parent chick likely won't survive.
>
> The Puffins are also targeted by the falcons. Perhaps unfortunately, a lot
> of the birds which are hit actually escape the talons, leaving the falcon
> to strike again, prolonging the colony disruption and leaving wounded birds
> who's survival may be compromised.
> A few days ago I watched an adult, probable female Peregrine hit and knock
> down 3 Puffins in less than a minute before it moved out of sight to
> another part of the island.
> So, while we may rail about fog, it does curtail virtually all raptor
> activity over the colony.
>
> RAZORBILLS have been leaving in Papa/Junior pairs for a week or so. They
> are seen marching towards the water but they leave the vicinity of the
> island. This is the time of year when the pairs are frequently reported at
> inshore locations.
>
> COMMON MURRES are also developing nicely, as are the PUFFINS.
> The very earliest Pufflings could make their nocturnal trek to the water
> within the week but the main body of youngsters will stay at home for maybe
> another 3-4 weeks. They seem to be getting sufficient food but the quality
> could be better.
>
> BLACK GUILLEMOTS continue to be seen around the boat landing, generally 2
> but occasionally 3 or more. There hasn't been any evidence of nesting,
> although the apparent regulars seem to be a mated pair in full black &
> white dress.
> Regardless, they offer good opportunities for close, extended observation. On
> Friday the "pair" let me walk to within 30 feet of them as they lounged
> on the rocks beside the boat landing. They watched me but only left when
> they felt sandwiched between me and an incoming boatload of tourists.
>
> SPOTTED SANDPIPERS are guarding broods all around the island. 3 chicks
> seem common this year, although I have seen a couple of families with 4
> siblings. Judging from the broods which I've actually observed and the
> presence of adults at other locations, I believe there may have been 12-15
> nests this year. That's around the high normal count that I'd expect.
> Two of the families are on alternate sides of the boat ramp. I see them
> every time I go down there.
> One brood is likely 4 days older but now all 6 chicks are growing well and
> have completely mastered their huge feet.
> Interestingly, all of the adult sandpipers this year have exhibited the
> normal close attention to their offspring but I have not seen a single
> "crippled bird" distraction display this year. In fact, there hasn't been
> much distraction activity at all. Adults have shown an unusual willingness
> to remain very close to me while allowing their chicks to continue feeding
> in the open. On one occasion an adult called all 3 chicks in to be brooded
> and warmed less than 20 feet from me. I spent some 10 minutes photographing
> the family until the chicks decided to resume their foraging and the adult
> mounted its lookout atop a large rock.
>
> SHORTBILLED DOWICHERS continue quite numerous. Perhaps not the highest
> count that I've ever seen but respectable. At the moment, from where I'm
> sitting, I can see a group of 5 feeding adjacent to the lighthouse. Another
> bunch of 17 is bathing in our containment pond, 5 are foraging under our
> solar panels and there are 11 feeding on the lawn next door.
> 50 or 60 isn't an unusual number in early July.
> It's impossible to know how many of the birds are staying around or for
> how long. I suspect that many of them stay for multiple days because they
> have great feeding on the lawns. There is a ridicules amount of earthworms
> and enough Wood Lice (Sow Bugs) to carry an elephant or two.
>
> The 2 or 3 CATBIRDS continue to build poor imitations of nests. The best
> of them are barely recognizable as nest structures ... more a random jumble
> of nest materials, including shredded paper from our compost. So far I've
> located 4 of them.
> Perhaps they are too occupied scoffing insects and grape jelly.
>
> While some EIDER ducklings are quite well grown now, new broods continue
> to appear. I watched 4 newly minted fluff-balls travel to the shore
> yesterday and experience their first immersion. Fortunately, sea conditions
> have been exceptionally good lately.
>
> HARBOUR SEAL pups are a bit more visible now, often pulling out at random
> points around the island.
> GRAY SEALS are a lot bigger now and more inclined to haul out on Gull Rock
> with the rest of the herd.
> That said, there was male Gray pup just north of the boat ramp last
> evening and a female Gray pup close to the south this morning.
>
> There have been a smattering of butterflies over the past 2 weeks but
> there are virtually no plants flowering at the moment, so no incentive to
> hang around.
> One MONARCH BUTTERFLY was noted, especially for the early date.
> August, into September produces our migrant butterflies and Hummingbirds.
> That's when the island is normally wall-to-wall PURPLE ASTER.
>
> So far this summer has been nearly MOSQUITO free; a happy contrast with
> 3-4 recent years. Nonetheless, I suspect that will change as we get more
> summer weather. I hope that I lose that bet.
>
>

--
Maine birds mailing list
<maine-birds...>
http://groups.google.com/group/maine-birds
https://sites.google.com/site/birding207
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Maine birds" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to maine-birds+<unsubscribe...>
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

 
Join us on Facebook!