Our fourth trip of the season took place under cool, but calm conditions yesterday. Our eider surveys in the Outer Islands turned up 308 chicks, with another 6 spotted off Rainsford, for an all time record of 314! This speaks well for the eider this year, since we usually see numbers dropping by now, as many young perish. We have also been receiving reports of eider chicks spotted off Revere, Winthrop, and the south shore, so we know our numbers underestimate the total number of chicks still out there on the water. In addition to great eider numbers we had 3 seals, 2 Wilson’s storm-petrels, and two Mute Swans (!) turn up to be counted. We also had one adult Great Cormorant on Shag Rocks.
American Oystercatchers were detected in their usual spot on Calf Island, and individuals were also detected on Green and Great Brewster. We had heard reports of AMOY on Prince’s Head on Peddocks, but were unable to find a pair their. However, we did find an oystercatcher nest on Rainsford Island (good eyes Sally!), along with 2-3 pair of Spotted Sandpipers and 16 Least Terns actively checking out nesting territory.
Apparently, the Least Tern colony on Winthrop Beach was predated on the 15th (thanks for the updated Susanna and Tim!) – so the terns on Rainsford were likely Winthrop individuals looking for a place to renest. I also received a call from Carl Johnson last night saying that he had spotted even higher numbers of Least Terns on Lovells yesterday, as well. We’ll visit both sites next week to see what happens… As some of you may recall, we had a small colony of Least Terns on Rainsford in the early 2000s that then hopped over to Lovells in 2007. After suffering heavy losses there, the group turned up on Winthrop Beach in 2008 where they received the added benefit of watchful plover monitors.
Gull and cormorant chicks are growing like crazy! Stay tuned for more next week …