Thursday, February 18, 2010

Signs of Spring on Fundy's Machias Seal Island?

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Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 06:55:06 -0400
From: Ralph Eldridge, NatureNB

Recent highlights:
The first GRAY SEALS are begining to haul out daily. There are no more than
10 so far. All are adults except one possible pup. However, distance and a single sighting leaves the possibility of a small adult Harbour Seal instead of a Gray pup.

An adult PEREGRINE FALCON hunted the island throughout February 13th and  14th. His persumed prey was the wintering PURPLE SANDPIPERS which number about 50 this year on MSI and a similiar number on Gull Rock.

On the 15th there was a 4th winter BALD EAGLE hunting the island and  surrounding waters.  That's my only sighting this month. Usually I have 1-10 sightings per week  during the winter.

Also on the 15th, there were 2 groups (6 & 7) of BRANT headed towards Grand  Manan.

LONG TAILED DUCKS are becoming increasingly numerous and EIDERS are up  slightly.
1-4 pairs of COMMON MERGANSERS are present around the island daily.

HARLEQUIN DUCKS are near last year's number with slightly more than 30  confirmed.  This is the second winter with more 20. From 1996 through 2008 the winter  population was static at ~15.

There is no evidence of any SONG SPARROWS over-wintering.  That being the only terrestrial species that tries (usually unsuccessfully) to  stay here, we are left with no resident land birds this winter.

"Our" pair of RAVENS pop out to visit us most days.

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