Wow! What a day!
We spent today on Sarah Island (in Hingham Harbor) counting oodles and oodles of wading bird nests.
The preliminary final counts are as follows: 243 Black-crowned Night-Heron (BCNH) nests, 38 Snowy Egret (SNEG) nests, 72 Great Egret (GREG) nests, one unknown egret nest, two empty nests not identified to species,three nests identified as Glossy Ibis (GLIB) – but likely Great Egrets since no adult Glossy Ibis were spotted in the colony. And… one nest with two BCNH chicks and two GREG chicks. Go figure!?!
These numbers are quite a bit higher than detected in 2007, and are comparable to 2006 (though with somewhat fewer BCNH).
We worked very hard to move through the colony on Sarah Island today as systematically as possible. We marked nest trees with water-based paint and numbered popsicle sticks with the hope of re-counting the colony to assess the reliability of our efforts. However, given the amount of time that we spent (and disturbance we caused) in the colony today and the impending weather, I’m not sure we will have the opportunity to revisit this colony while active this year. Things seem a bit ahead of schedule and there were many mobile BCNH chicks and some mobile GREG chicks present already – by next week I’m afraid that a visit to the colony would cause complete chaos and unnecessary losses. If possible, I would like to revisit Sarah Island after the chicks have fledged in July/August to assess our ability to gauge nesting outcomes with a post-season visit.
Unfortunately, trips scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week have been cancelled due to weather. We head out next on Wednesday, June 3rd. Have a great week – Carol