Spring Migration 2017

Things are moving along smoothly out here on Seal Island. I think we will finish constructing our last two blinds today and the productivity plots will be ready for the terns by the end of the day as well. Terns are starting to spend more and more time around the island but, most are completely gone by about 8am. The 10th was the first day that they touched down on the island but, as expected that didn’t last too long. We did our first puffin productivity check on the 10th as well inspecting 74 burrows. 4 of them we confirmed eggs in and an additional 5 or 6 had birds that appeared to be incubating. Morning counts of puffins this spring have been the highest I have seen in my past two seasons out here with several days with around 700! Spring songbird migration is painfully slow but, we have had some nice birds. On the 6-7th we had some really nice “slingshot” conditions where relatively strong southwest winds blew birds of the coasts of New Jersey and New York who then got caught in more northeasterly winds off Cape Cod blowing them back west to the coast of Maine. Those weather conditions likely brought a mini fallout of early thrushes including over 40 Swainsons Thrush and among them at least 6 Gray-cheeked/ Bicknells Thrush (can’t reliably be differentiated in the field without song) and 5 Veery. In addition, we had some more southerly distributed species including Blue Grosbeak, Purple Martin, Kentucky Warbler, a very early and northerly record of a Saltmarsh Sparrow all of which likely resulted from those weather conditions. In addition, Troppy, our resident Red-billed Tropicbird, returned on the 7th!

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