Since the last update, we’ve seen a noticeable drop in disturbances at Yaquina Head, especially from sub-adult/immature eagles. From 1 June – 25 June 2017, we witnessed 61 disturbances – in 2018 only 32. We still need to compare observation effort between the years, but we have had observers at the colony nearly every day. Currently, murres are incubating eggs at all locations in Yaquina Head except Flat Top rock. There is a pair of eagles that have claimed the headland as their primary perching spot and periodically spend time on Flat Top.
We are tracking 188 murre eggs across 27 plots, some since the 30th of May. We expected chicks to hatch as early as July 1st, but no chicks have been seen yet. We are also excited to schedule all day activity watches, allowing us to observe how often adults bring fish to their chicks.
Nesting sites for cormorants have also been doing well. As of June 25th, 7 pelagic cormorant and 2 Brandt’s cormorant nests have chicks at Yaquina Head. As is typical, most of the pelagic cormorants reside in Smuggler’s Cove whereas the Brandt’s cormorants occupy a large portion of Whale Rock and have branched out to the east side of Colony rock. To the south at Yaquina Bridge, chicks from all three cormorant species (Brandt’s, pelagic, double-crested) on the pilings have become more active and mobile, flapping and exercising their wings. We hope to see the first chicks fledge soon! To the north in Depoe Bay, at the Pirate’s Cove colony, several nesting cormorants continue to salvage and fight over nesting material. A vast majority of the 135 nests being monitored at Depoe Bay are still in the incubation phase. Common murres are also consistently found at this location, and even with infrequent visits, we have documented eggs laid at this colony.
Of the 19 nesting sites being monitored for the western gulls at Yaquina Head, half of them have been observed to have chicks! Some have even begun to walk and explore outside of their nests with the supervision of their adults nearby.
At the end of this week, we’ll welcome back Don Lyons from Alaska by way of Russia, and Alaska, and say goodbye to Rachael Orben who leaves for the Falkland Islands! Our 6 summer research fellows are all out at Hatfield, busy thinking of creative ways to present YHONA data at upcoming conferences this fall and winter.
Tune in next time for updates on forage fish and fuzzy chicks!
Christian Cortez Rachael Orben Don Lyons Jane Dolliver Jess Porquez Ana Medina Alayna Lawson Melanie Birch Alyssa Nelson Makenzie Weber Stephanie Loredo Rob Suryan
P.S. If you know someone who wishes to be added to this list please direct your request to Don Lyons (<Don.Lyons...>). Thanks! -- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rachael A. Orben PhD Assistant Professor (Sr. Research) | Department of Fisheries & Wildlife | Oregon State University | Hatfield Marine Science Center | Newport, Oregon 97365 | office: 541-867-0223 Seabird Oceanography Lab [http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/research-labs/seabird-oceanography-lab] | GEMM Lab | Research Website | SYN Blog POST: Send your post to <obol...> JOIN OR QUIT: http://www.freelists.org/list/obol OBOL archives: www.freelists.org/archive/obol Contact moderator: <obol-moderators...>