Things are definitely winding down for the season. On Monday, we conducted a round of boat-based surveys in the Outer Islands, though many of the eider chicks and their Moms may have already headed for the mainland coast where sightings have been increasing for the last couple of weeks. We observed a total of 492 female eiders, 34 chicks, and 78 juvenile males. No breeding males were seen. Several of the chicks we saw were very similar in size and coloring to adult females, so it is quite possible that full grown chicks are included in the female numbers, which seem very high.
The REAL highlight of Monday’s trip was a flock of over 100 Wilson’s Storm Petrels foraging throughout the Harbor Islands from Rainsford to Graves (I didn’t get any pictures, but this site has some great ones: http://neseabirds.com/Stormpwsp.htm). Three Great Cormorants were still hanging out on Graves (literally – see photo above), where we also spotted a harbor seal. And several Great Blue Herons have returned to the coast from their inland breeding sites – another indication that the breeding season is coming to an end.
Enjoy the sunshine this weekend – we’ve earned it! -Carol