---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Rachael Orben <Rachael.Orben...>
Date: Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 6:11 AM
Subject: Yaquina Head Murre Monitoring Update #1
To: Jessica Porquez <porquezj...>
Hello everyone! We are more than excited to share with you an
update on our nest monitoring of the common murres. We started our
monitoring effort in late May and are currently following 223 nests,
100 of which currently have eggs, and 78 of which have chicks. The
first chick hatched on July 3rd on Colony Rock. A quick recap from
last year, 2018 was successful after three years of consecutive failed
breeding attempts. We’re hoping to see the murres do well again this
year – they are doing very well so far. Now that it is the beginning
of July we seeing eggs hatch, which is exciting!
Though the eagles have made their appearance, it appears that the
murres that are nesting in larger colonies are holding their ground.
The largest rock in the area, known as Colony Rock, continues to have
more eggs compared to the surrounding colonies. Although Colony Rock
has been disturbed by bald eagles, gulls, and turkey vultures, most of
the eggs and adults taken were from the back side of the rock. In
terms of the area we are monitoring, the major disturbances were in
the later part of June compared to last year where disturbances
occurred earlier in the month. We were surprised to see two eagles
land dead center on Colony Rock with very few murres flying away.
Similar to last year, the Flat Top colony experienced egg predation
due to western gulls early on in June. However, there are still active
nests with eggs (2 total) on Flat Top and there is a small group of
non-breeding murres attending the site. But overall, this nesting area
Along with common murre monitoring, we are continuing nesting
monitoring of Brandt’s and pelagic cormorants. Yaquina Head
Outstanding Natural Area (YHONA) is home to both species and they are
easily distinguishable based on nesting habitat, appearance, and
behavior. Brandt’s Cormorants (BRAC) will nest on top of rocks or
cliff sides in a group while the Pelagic Cormorant (PECO) choose to
nest on the sides of rocks or cliff faces and are more spaced out. We
are currently following 28 BRAC nests and 23 PECO nests. Cormorant
chicks have been starting to pop their heads underneath the parents.
We are enjoying the company of little black fuzz balls. On the topic
of chicks, we are monitoring western gull nests at YHONA and we have
observed gull chicks in four of five nests!
This year, we’re delighted to have Robert Vargas as our Environment
for the Americas intern whom we share with the Bureau of Land
Management. Additionally, we welcome Cassidy Turner and Ray Martin as
OSU undergraduate student researchers.
We are all glad here at the Seabird Oceanography Lab to know that so
many of you continue to show an interest with the status of the common
murres here at Yaquina Head Outstanding Area. We’ll keep you updated
on this year’s monitoring efforts with another update later this