Return from Appledore

1 06 2015

The rains descended on our last morning of gull banding week this year, but fortunately, we had already wrapped up most of our work while the sun was still shining the previous evening. In the end, we managed to capture and band over fifty adult gulls, and later this summer, a second team will head out to band hundreds of pre-fledglings. As you can see, the adult banding is much slower going, but the advantage is that the adults are far more likely to return than any given juvenile, which suffer substantial mortality in the first year. So, we hope to cover our bases by doing both types of banding.

We were fortunate that Julie Ellis made it out for a couple days this years, wrestling free of her children for 48 hours or so. Hilarity ensued, naturally.

Julie and UNE student Taylor Ouellette take measurements on a gull. If these are their game faces, we're in trouble.

Julie and UNE student Taylor Ouellette take measurements on a gull. If these are their game faces, we’re in trouble.

The team gradually gained in skill over the course of the week, going from the skittish neophytes you see here to the confident gull-stalkers they were by week’s end.

Ally Pittman watches a trap from a rocky vantage point.

Ally Pittman watches a trap from a rocky vantage point.

They were also extremely good at relaxing.

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From left: Alisa Povenmire, Bill Clark, Peggy Friar, Jamie Zananiri, and Ally Pittman (foreground).

Jamie was our diligent and detail-oriented data recorder, and Chandler Maagoul was Chief Sitter and Snacker.

Jamie was our diligent and detail-oriented data recorder, and Chandler Maagoul was Chief Sitter and Snacker.

Of course, even while working with live birds, my heart is with the dead ones, so I share with you this carcass we found on one of the rocky beaches of the island between two raucous gull colonies:

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Luckily I snapped a photo of this Great Cormorant since Superstar Bird Nerd and Ornithology Professor David Bonter publicly called my i.d. into question. Take THAT, David Bonter!

Now, it’s back to computer work. Feast or famine around here, when it comes to the outdoors, it seems.

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