Date: 7/24/17 7:01 pm From: Range Bayer <range.bayer...> Subject: [obol] Yaquina Head Nesting Seabird Update #3 (July 24)
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Suryan, Robert Michael <rob.suryan...> Date: Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 2:01 PM Subject: Yaquina Head seabird update #3 To: [clipped]
On July 7th our first and only murre chick was spotted on Whale Rock West. Unfortunately, this chick was last seen on July 14th. It is improbable that the chick fledged, since it was an estimated 8 days old and chicks are usually at least 15 days old when they fledge. Even the murre pairs on Lower Colony Rock did not produce chicks so far this year.
In general, the common murre colony at Yaquina Head has yet to resettle on the rocks since our last update. When we have observed murres returning to the rocks, they are flushed by bald eagles, although the frequency of disturbances has decreased overall, with fewer eagles observed. It is unlikely that murres will settle and lay any more eggs at this point, but we will continue to monitor any changes.
The first set of murre prey photos were taken July 13th. Even though birds are not feeding chicks, some will return to the rocks holding fish in their bill for us to photograph. So far, we are seeing fewer prey items compared to last year (which was already a low year for prey).
Alayna Lawson has been following Western Gulls at Yaquina Head and reports that they are not doing very well either. Out of 14 nests that she originally started monitoring, only 4 had chicks and now only two chicks remain. Disturbance by the eagles has not appeared to have a huge impact on these nests. Chicks have been seen being consumed by other gulls and nests have been overrun by the murres moving around constantly.
On a happier note, cormorant chicks are still hatching and growing, with more being counted each day! We are currently monitoring 78 Brandt’s nests and 43 Pelagic nests (we lost a few Brandt’s nests). There are 82 Brandt’s chicks and 35 pelagic chicks in our plots! Some Brandt’s chicks on Lion’s Head have been seen leaving their nest and exploring their surroundings. Some should be fledging soon!
The few murres that we are tracking from Yaquina Head are in Washington and Canada. One bird traveled to northern Canada (near the Alaska border!), then returned all the way back to central Oregon and then back up to southern Washington. An impressive commute! We have not seen individual murres range so widely in previous tracking efforts.
Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks for your interest!
Isabel Justiniano Ana Medina Roman Alayna Lawson Stephanie Loredo Jane Dolliver Jess Porquez Don Lyons Rachael Orben Rob Suryan