Date: 2/24/18 2:43 am From: RALPH ELDRIDGE <lightrae1...> Subject: [Maine-birds] MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT
Things have been fairly static since my last report save for two fronts.
First: ALCIDS, primarily RAZORBILLS, have begun to accumulate in the area surrounding the island. No real rafting or large concentrations seen yet but lots of small flocks shifting about.
Second: The SNOWY OWL traffic here this week seems to be a strong indication that, as has been suggested elsewhere, the owls are beginning their northward migration. We've had at least 3 Snowys on the island this week.
The 1st stayed at least 3 days. It was last observed flying towards Grand Manan on Thursday evening.
The 2nd was here for an uncertain period but not more than 12 hours and likely far less. It was last seen as a half consumed carcass being carried away by an EAGLE.
The 3rd Snowy was accidently flushed from among boulders this (Friday) afternoon. At dark it was ground-perched about 200 yards from our living room window where it had been since my disturbance. I thought that it might move off when "our" RAVENS tried to harass it. When the Ravens realized that the owl wasn't at all intimidated and actually might be happy to eat one of them, they took their roadshow elsewhere.
You've hear about Hundred Year Eggs? Not truly aged a century but still they can be several months old and quite an edible delicacy when done correctly. Well it seems that Ravens may have their own version of that Ming Dynasty recipe. Crows and their allies are well known for their penance for hiding food and for their ability to remember and retrieve their hoards. None are better than Ravens but we seldom see both the hiding and recovery. Friday afternoon, after the Ravens abandoned their hazing of the Snowy Owl, both returned to poking around the landscape. One of the Ravens decided to examine a grass clump that I knew contained cached food and I saw it eating what proved to be a Tern egg. The Raven flew off with another whole egg and I found two more in the cache. Now do the math. Terns laid those eggs in early summer. They were abandoned, then found by the Raven & cached in late summer. It's now late February. Those eggs rival any Pidan at 7-8 months old. Yum yummy!!