TERN REPORT - 2000 - Ted C. D'Eon

  • TERN REPORT 1995
  • TERN REPORT 1996
  • TERN REPORT 1997
  • TERN REPORT 1998
  • TERN REPORT 1999
  • TERN REPORT 2001
  • TERN REPORT 2002
  • TERN REPORT 2003
  • Marine Chart of Lobster Bay
  • THE BROTHERS, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia

    The Brothers are two tiny islands about 1 km west of Lower West Pubnico, Nova Scotia, Canada.


    The year 2000 nesting season on The Brothers turned out very well, especially North Brother (N. Brother). Roseate tern nest numbers increased to 86 from a previous high of 61 in 1999. Only one of these was on South Brother (S. Brother); in fact it was the only tern nest on S. Brother in the year 2000.

    The total number of tern nests on The Brothers rose to 491 in 2000 from the 1999 total of 399. This is still far short of the 750 tern nests counted there in 1997.

    One gull nest was removed from The Brothers in 2000 and only a few tern eggs appeared to have been depredated by gulls. Crows have not been a problem, though, a half a dozen or so adult terns may have been taken by owls.

    The weather being favourable and with herring brit by the billion in the bay and few predators on the islands, the majority of the eggs hatched and more tern chicks fledged than usual.

    The number of tern nests on Pinch Gut I. held its own or grew slightly. There were 350 tern nests there in 1999. An extrapolated number of 384 tern nests was calculated after a census there on June 14. About 95% of the terns were Commons; the remainder, Arctics. The colony was in great shape in spite of the single Great Black-backed Gull nest with 3 chicks in the centre of the colony.

    Eleven Arctic Tern Nests were found on Flat I. on June 1. Seven Arctic Tern nests were found on Gannet Rock, June 4. There were 14 Common Tern nests on Île Chespêque on May 30, and a few Commons and possibly some Arctics nested on The Thrum.

    All in all, it has been a great year for the terns of The Brothers.


    The following is a chronological listing of my year 2000 work with terns in general, of the Lobster Bay area, but especially with the Roseate Terns of The Brothers. The report also includes tern observations from other local residents.

    April 24, 2000 - Lobster fisherman, Chesley d'Entremont, reported a couple of terns a few km south-west of Pubnico Point.

    April 25, 2000 - Albert d'Entremont reported a single tern at the Argyle Bridge.

    April 29, 2000 - My cousin, Andrew D'Eon, and my daughter, Ingrid, helped me fix up a number of Roseate Tern nest shelters on the Brothers. We also cleared the Roseate Tern nesting area of dead plant material from last year's growth.

    The Brothers are two tiny islands about 1 km west of Lower West Pubnico, Nova Scotia, Canada. No Terns were seen. There were no gull nests to be removed.

    We installed a "Tern Colony" sign on the north-eastern end of each island.

    Ted D'Eon with "Tern Colony" sign on North Brother

    Checking out the dory bottom shelter on North Brother

    Ted D'Eon cleaning up nesting area on North Brother

    Adjusting Roseate Tern tire shelters on North Brother

    Closer view of "Tern Colony" sign

    A few washed up lobster crates were added to last year's number of Roseate Tern shelters by knocking off a board or two, turning them over at a suitable location and placing several heavy stones on top so they would not be moved by the elements.

    May 2, 2000 - Lobster fishermen Edouard D'Eon and Réal d'Entremont reported seeing several groups of terns in Lobster Bay.

    May 4, 2000 - From the mainland of Lower West Pubnico I could see 50 to 60 terns on North Brother (N. Brother). There were no terns to be seen on S. Brother.

    May 6, 2000 - Two Arctic Terns were seen above Gannet Rock on our visit there to change the battery of the Gannet sound system. A flock of over 1000 Common Eiders was seen at Spectacle Island. This island is located about 7 km east of Gannet Rock. Most of the males of this group were first year immatures. There were about 6 White-throated Sparrows and one wren (probably a Winter Wren) also on Gannet Rock.

    We then went to Round Island where we saw 4 Puffins and about 200 Black Brant. There were 150 to 200 Black Guillemots on the east end of this island. On Mud I. there were several species of unidentified puddle ducks in one of the northern ponds. Common Eiders were very plentiful as were their nests. Snowshoe Hares were more numerous there than usual.

    On our way back to Abbott's Harbour we motored by The Brothers. On S. Brother all we could see were gulls, cormorants, and a few eiders. On N. Brother, there were less than 100 unidentified terns. A few km south-west of Thr Brothers we saw two groups of 12 to 15 terns sitting on the water.

    My crew on this trip were Andrew D'Eon, Alix d'Entremont, and Gilbert D'Eon. On Gannet Rock we had the thrill of freeing a young seal from a length of monofilament gill net with three small floats and a short length of rope, secured tightly around its neck. It was a vicious little critter but with some wrangling, Andrew managed to get a knife around the netting and cut it off. It was quite an experience!

    May 13, 2000 - Trip to N. Brother and then continued to Round, Mud, and Noddy Islands.

    About 12 Roseate Terns were seen on N. Brother along with about 120 Arctic and 80 Common Terns. There were no gull nests to remove. A few terns were seen on S. Brother as we motored by the island. About 10 Arctic Terns were seen above the south beach of Round I.; no terns of Mud I. nor on Noddy.

    Of note were 12 Puffins at Round I. and about 20 at Noddy I., 4 American Widgeons on Round I. and 6 more on Mud I., about 170 Black Brants were flying from island to island, over 400 Black Guillemots, over 600 Common Eiders and 4 Canada Geese were nesting on the islands. 3 Gannets flew by Noddy I.

    My crew: Raymond S. d'Entremont, Paul Gould, Jerome D'Eon, Jean-Bernard d'Entremont, and Alix d'Entremont.

    May 20, 2000 - To the Brothers again; this time primarily to check out S. Brother for gull nests. One Great Black-backed Gull's nest containing 3 eggs was removed. 6 Common Eider nests were found in the grassy part of the island. There was no tern activity.

    As we passed N. Brother on out way to S. Brother we noticed a few terns dive down on a couple of gulls on the northern beach. Coming back from the southern island, we stopped on N. Brother to check it out. We found 6 tern nests, all containing one egg except one nest which contained two. Another tern egg had been depredated leaving only part of the shell. One Common Eider egg was also eaten though the nest itself was not found.

    The number of terns over the island appeared rather low - probably less than 200!

    My crew: Andrew D'Eon, Alix d'Entremont, Bonnie Shand and her son Jordan Doucette.

    May 22, 2000 - To Gannet Rock and Green Rock. Crew: Andrew, Rémi, Alix, Justin d'Entremont, and my brother, Roland. About 20 Atctic Terns were above Gannet Rock and one Arctic Tern's nest with one egg was found. Four or 5 gull nests were found on Gannet Rock; one of them was a Herring Gull's, the others, Great Black-backed's.

    May 30, 2000 - To N. Brother to check the condition of the colony. On May 28, I had viewed The Brothers from the mainland and there appeared to be fewer terns in the air than expected for that time of year. No activity was observer on S. Brother at all. I had a fear the colony was in peril.

    My fear was not realized, however. Even though the numbers appeared lower than usual, the colony was in great shape. One tern egg appeared depredated and one adult tern appeared to have been taken by an owl, leaving mostly the wings, the legs and feathers.

    A quick and incomplete nest count revealed 210 tern nests (97 with 1 egg, 95 with 2 eggs, 18 with 3 eggs), including 6 Roseate Tern nests containing one egg each. One Common Eider nest with 5 eggs was also found.

    We then went to Île Chespêque, Pubnico Harbour, where we counted 14 Common Tern nests (one containing 1 egg, 3 with 2 eggs, and 10 with 3 eggs). There were 3 Common Eider nests here, one of which the eggs were cold. One Great Black-backed Gull's nest with 3 eggs was also found.

    My crew: Jerome D'Eon with his children, Benjamin and Brianna, and Ellis d'Entremont with his son, Marcel.

    June 10, 2000 - The primary tern nest count on N. Brother was conducted with the help of the Nova Scotia Bird Society's president, Gisèle d'Entremont, my son, Nigel, and Jerome D'Eon children, Rachel and Benjamin.

    The total number of nests was greater than I expected at 491. This included 89 nests with single eggs, 246 containing 2 eggs, 100 containing 3 eggs, PLUS 56 Roseate Tern nests.

    Normally at this time of the year, less than 2/3 of the Roseates have laid. A Roseate Tern nest count about two weeks later usually almost doubles the number of nests!

    About 3 or 4 adult terns had been eaten by some predator; only wings and feathers remaining. Two more dead adults may have died of more natural causes. Some of the Arctic Tern nests seen on May 30, on the northern beach rocks, were not there anymore.

    There was a small number of terns on S. Brother. I will check these out at a later date.

    We counted 11 Arctic Tern nests on Flat Island; one containing 1 egg, 5 containing 2 eggs and 5 nests containing 3 eggs. There was a pair of Green-wing Teals at Flat I., one Puffin at Mud I., and about 40 Puffins at Noddy I.

    I am concerned with the lack of Eider ducklings in the Lobster Bay area of South-west Nova Scotia. With the estimated 300 or so Common Eider nests on the Mud Island group of islands, we saw only two broods of ducklings; there were 2 or 3 ducklings in one and 4 or 5 in the other! Are the gulls cleaning them up? I know the nests have not all hatched yet, but we should have seen hundreds of ducklings on this visit.

    Tern Nests Numbers on The Brothers - 2000
      N. Brother S. Brother totals
    June 7, 1990 302 28 330
    June 11, 1991 441 13 454
    June 11, 1992 413 0 413
    June 9, 1993 367 0 367
    June 8, 1994 380 0 380
    June 14, 1995 457 0 457
    June 16, 1996 554 12 566
    June 12, 1997 630 120 750
    June 11, 1998 452 151 603
    June 7, 1999 399 0 399
    June 10, 2000 491 0 491

    June 14, 2000 - South Brother: one Roseate Tern nest with one egg found under a crate. No other Tern nests on the island. There were a few terns in the air.

    Pinch Gut I.: 290 tern nests counted (first pass). Second pass through the colony revealed 40 marked nests (with stirring stick) and 13 unmarked nests, giving an extrapolated total tern nest number of 384. Over 95% of the terns were Commons; the remainder, Arctics. 42 tern chicks were counted. 55 of the tern nests counted contained 1 egg, 119 contained 2 eggs, and 116 contained 3 eggs. The colony was in great shape in spite of the single Great Black-backed Gull's nest with 3 chicks in the centre of the tern colony.

    Other noteworthy finds: 34 Common Eider nests (9 with eggs and/or ducklings, 26 empty), 2 Willett nests containing 4 eggs each, and one nesting Red-brested Merganser (nest not located).

    My crew: Rémi, Jean-Bernard, and Hugh d'Entremont.

    June 18, 2000 - Report from Ellis d'Entremont - 6 tern nests on Thrum I.; about 75 terns in the air.

    June 21, 2000 - Gannet Rock: 6 Arctic Tern nests. Only two of the nests had warm eggs. There were about 25 Arctic Terns in the air above the Rock.

    June 24, 2000 - Roseate Tern nest count on The Brothers. Nest numbers were increased to 81! N. Brother was in great shape; no tern nests were found on S. Brother. There was still some evidence of probable owl depredation of adult terns with the feathers of 4 or 5 terns in the depression at the centre of the island. One Spotted Sandpiper nest with 4 eggs was found.

    Food for the terns is very plentiful this summer. Herring brit by the billion is seen everywhere; another major factor in making this nesting season a success.

    There may infact be more Roseate Tern nests on N. Brother than listed. We searched only the edge of the more heavily vegetated area.

    My crew: Nigel, Alix d'Entremont, Ellis d'Entremont with his sons, Justin and Marcel.

    Roseate Tern nests on The Brothers - 2000
    Nest # Location June 10 June 25 July 7
    1 under crate 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (1) 1 chick (13)
    2 under crate 1 egg empty 1 chick (14)
    3 under crate top 1 egg (cracked) 1 egg 1 egg
    4 under crate 1 egg 1 chick (4) 1 chick (16)
    5 under plywood 2 eggs 2 eggs 2 chicks (7, 9)
    6 under crate 2 eggs 1 egg 1 egg
    7 under crate top 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (3)
    8 under crate top 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (7)
    9 under crate 1 egg 1 egg (hatching) 1 chick (18)
    10 under crate 1 egg 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (12)
    11 under crate 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (12)
    12 nest shelter 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (3) empty
    13 nest shelter 2 eggs 2 eggs 2 chicks (9, 12)
    14 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg empty
    15 under crate top 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (7)
    16 under crate 1 egg 1 egg empty
    17 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg 1 chick (5)
    18 under crate top 1 egg 1 egg
    19 open 1 egg 1 egg
    20 nest shelter 2 eggs 2 chicks (4, 2) 1 chick (17)
    21 under plywood 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (10)
    22 under crate top 1 egg 1 chick (3) 1 chick (15)
    23 nest shelter 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (2) 1 chick (15)
    24 under platform 2 eggs
    25 under crate 1 egg 1 egg 1 chick (12)
    26 under platform 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (dead)
    27 under platform 1 egg 1 egg 2 chicks (6, 10)
    28 dory bottom 1 egg 1 chick (1)
    29 dory bottom 1 egg 1 egg
    30 nest shelter 2 eggs 2 eggs empty
    31 nest shelter 3 eggs 3 eggs
    32 dory bottom 1 egg 1 egg
    33 next to crate 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 chick (5)
    34 under crate 2 eggs 2 eggs empty
    35 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg empty
    36 under crate 2 eggs 3 eggs 1 egg, 1 egg shell
    37 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg empty
    38 under crate 1 egg 1 egg empty
    39 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg 1 egg
    40 nest shelter 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (3) 1 chick (14)
    41 open 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (4)
    42 under crate 1 egg 1 chick (3)
    43 open 2 eggs empty
    44 in vegetation 2 eggs
    45 open 2 eggs 1 egg, 1 chick (5)
    46 open 1 egg 2 eggs
    47 open 2 eggs
    48 in vegetation 2 eggs
    49 under pallett 1 egg hatched
    50 open 1 egg
    51 under crate 1 egg 1 chick (4) 1 chick (18)
    52 under crate 2 eggs 2 eggs 1 egg
    53 nest shelter 1 egg 2 eggs
    54 under plywood 1 egg 1 egg
    55 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg 1 chick (3)
    56 under crate top 1 egg 1 egg 1 chick (12)
    57* under crate 1 egg (cold)
    58 open 2 eggs
    59 under crate top 2 eggs 2 eggs
    60 under crate top 2 eggs 1 egg
    61 open 1 egg 1 egg
    62 open 1 egg 1 egg
    63 open 1 egg (cold)
    64 open 2 eggs
    65 nest shelter 1 egg 1 egg
    66 open 1 egg
    67 open 1 egg 1 egg
    68 under platform 1 egg 1 chick (2)
    69 under platform 1 egg
    70 under platform 1 egg
    71 open 1 egg
    72 dory bottom 1 egg
    73 open 2 eggs
    74 open 2 eggs
    75 open 2 eggs
    76 dory bottom 1 egg
    77 open 2 eggs
    78 open 1 egg
    79 open 2 eggs
    80 under board 1 egg ants feeding on egg
    81 open 2 eggs
    82 open 2 eggs
    83 open 1 egg
    84 ope n 1 egg
    85 next to dory bottom 2 eggs
    86 in vegetation 1 egg
    Crate = washed up lobster crate, overturned with lid (top) and a board removed for inside access by Roseate Tern.
    Crate top = hinged top of lobster crate propped up with rocks for underneath access by Roseate Tern.
    Dory bottom = washed up botton of a dory (type of row-boat) flipped over so the Roseate Terns can nest under.
    Nest shelter = Roseate Tern nest shelters mostly built by myself.
    * = nest on S. Brother.
    [Note: The Number in Brackets ( ) = Approximate Age in Days]

    Total 86 Roseate Tern nests - A NEW RECORD


    Jun/90 ??
    Jun 23/91 20
    Jun 18/92 23
    Jun 20/93 30
    Jul 12/94 34
    Jun 22/95 33
    Jun 28/96 48
    Jun 25/97 54
    Jul 3/98 59
    Jul 9/99 61
    Jun 24/00 86

    July 2, 2000 - After hearing shotgun blasts from my house coming from the south, I drove to the end of Pond Road, Lower West Pubnico, to the location locally known as "The Pound" (where had been a lobster pound at one time). On the knoll of land to the west of "The Pound", and on the bank at the water's edge several young men, of whom I know and respect, were skeet shooting clay pigeons in the direction of N. Brother. This island being at a distance of less than one kilometer. I suggested to them this was not a good idea, with this location being so close to an endangered species nesting colony and a tern feeding ground all around. I also advised them of the consequences of a conviction of knowingly disturbing an endangered species. They offered no argument and left the area. I can understand their frustration in finding a suitable local area to do their skeet shooting. They informed me shotguns were not allowed at the local gun range; it was for rifle shooting only. I had not been aware of this. It grieved me to have to be the one tell them to stop their sport, but, I guess, better me than the game warden or the R.C.M.P. I am sure they did not realize the potential gravity of their skeet shooting.

    July 7, 2000 - Roseate Tern Chick count on N. Brothers. The number of Roseate Tern nests was increased again; this time to 86! Five more nests were found. 28 Roseate Tern chicks were found; only one of which was dead. The colony was doing great! Roderick d'Entremont helped me with the count.

    July 17, 2000 - I went to N. Brother to shoot a few photos. There was a lot of Roseate Tern activity. My helpers were Alix and André d'Entremont.

    Roseate Terns on North Brother - July 17, 2000 (Ted C. D'Eon)

    July 29, 2000 - Motored by N. Brother. Many adult Roseate Terns feeding newly fledged young at the water's edge.

    August 12, 2000 - Brought Jeanelle Kennedy and Lorrie Roberts to N. Brother to show them the Roseate Tern shelter setup as well as the island. They are working with the Bluenose Atlantic Coastal Action Program in Mahone Bay. They will be improving Roseate Tern nesting habitat in their area. We searched around for unhatched Roseate Tern eggs and found only two. Hopefully, this was a sign that most of the other eggs had hatched. All terns had left the island.

    TERN PHOTOS by Ted C. D'Eon

    Roseate Tern Nest

    Roseate Tern Newly Hatched

    Roseate Tern Young

    Roseate Terns at N. Brother (July 25,1997)

    Roseate Terns at N. Brother (July 25, 1997)

    Ted C. D'Eon

    P.O. Box 100
    West Pubnico
    Nova Scotia  B0W 3S0
    phone (home)1-902-762-2097
          (FAX) 1-902-762-2885
    E-Mail to: ted@ns.sympatico.ca © Ted C. D'Eon, 2000