TERN REPORT - 2016 - Ted C. D'Eon
LOBSTER BAY - SOUTHWEST NOVA SCOTIA


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  • The Brothers are two tiny islands about 1 km west of Lower West Pubnico, Nova Scotia, Canada.
    They are owned by the province and were designated a wildlife management area in April 2007.
    Access to them during nesting season (April 1 to Aug. 31) is by permit only.

    My work on these islands is done in cooperation with Canadian Wildlife Service and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

    THE BROTHERS, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
    THE BROTHERS, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia

    THE BROTHERS, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia


    SUMMARY OF OBSERVATIONS AND ACTIVITIES:

    Written by Julie McKnight, Biologist, Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) / Environment and Climate Change Canada / Government of Canada. Julie is the head of the Canadian Roseate Tern (ROST) recovery team.

    North Brother Island (The Brothers Island Wildlife Management Area)

    Winter storm damage to North Brother Island was extensive, especially on the southeast side of the island. The entire island appeared to have been over washed in at least one event (nearly all nest shelters and debris were found in the central tidal pond). Large boulders were thrown over the far southeast corner of the island, an area that was densely occupied by nesting Common Terns in 2015. We estimate that approximately Ľ of the Common Tern habitat used in 2015 was unsuitable for terns in 2015. Many nest shelters from previous years were destroyed. We salvaged what we could and also provisioned the island with 40 new "shelter trap" boxes. We were unable to place as many shelters as in 2015 (110 in 2016, 150 in 2015) because of habitat constraints and a lack of manpower. A significant amount of marine debris and lumber washed up on the island last winter and was deposited in the central tidal pond.

    The tern census was conducted on North Brother Island on 11 June with five observers. In total, 661 nests were counted of which 42 were Roseate Terns. Eight additional Roseate Tern nests were found over the season bringing the year-end total count to 50 pairs. Forty-seven of 50 Roseate Tern nests were located in nest shelters (26 in typical three-sided box shelters, eight in the "Coquet Island-style" shelters, 12 in the new "shelter trap" boxes, one under salvaged plywood, one in a derelict lobster crate, and one completely in the open).

    Predation was light this year. Three adult carcasses were discovered: a decapitated Arctic Tern and one Common Tern (no obvious signs of mortality) were found on 22 June and one dead adult Roseate Tern (originally banded as an adult on Country Island) was discovered on North Brother Island on 11 July. The bird will be sent for necropsy but damage to the back was apparent as if struck by an avian predator.

    Nest success was high in 2016. Of 46 nests with known outcomes, 80% successfully hatched at least one chick. Nest success varied by location on the island and was highest (87.5%) in the area heavily enhanced in 2016 (i.e., by placing weed barrier, suitable nesting substrate, and nest shelters). Two nests were abandoned when strong winds blew nest shelters off the island. One nest (in the open) was accidentally trampled during a nest check.

    One Great Black-backed Gull nest with three eggs was found on South Brother Island on 13 May and all eggs were destroyed. One Great Black-backed Gull nest with two eggs was found on North Brother Island on 18 May and all eggs were destroyed.

    We captured 22 adult Roseate Terns; five unmarked individuals and 17 recaptures. Breast feathers were collected from tagged birds and will be used to determine sex. One of the recaptures was originally banded as a chick on Great Gull Island, NY in 1998. This is the third year in a row that a double metal-banded (with USGS and metal field-readable bands) bird was encountered missing its USGS band. An additional 20 individual Roseate Terns were resighted on North Brother Island in 2016 for a total of 42 "known" individual adult birds. 40 Roseate Tern chicks were banded with USGS and 39 of these received plastic field-readable bands as well (1 was deemed too small).

    We deployed 12 PathTrack GPS archival data loggers on 12 adults from 12 nests on 16 and 17 June. We were able to recapture eight of these birds and retrieved seven tags. Data analyses are not yet started but some interesting information is already apparent. One retrieved tag was programmed without a shut off period and captured two nocturnal foraging trips (during a full moon) lasting hours. One foraging trip was to an entirely unexpected location (near Big Tusket Island). Numerous trips were made to locate the four "missing" tags and birds were not observed carrying them. It is likely the tags were dropped earlier than expected, but we can't confirm this.

    Overall it was a very successful season on North Brother Island. Precipitation rates for June and July were far below normal. This, in addition to habitat changes due to winter storms and our habitat enhancement efforts, kept the invasive vegetation from proliferating as in previous years. The depressed vegetation along with all the hard work by staff and volunteers in late April meant that all the provisioned Roseate Tern nest shelters remained accessible to terns throughout the season. We believe this contributed to the apparently high productivity.

    My thanks to CWS and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR) for allowing me to "manage" The Brothers again this year, especially to CWS biologist, Julie MacKnight. Also a thank you goes to my many local volunteers and assistants, without whom I would not have been able to do the job. - Ted D'Eon


    OBSERVATIONS:

    The following is a chronological listing of our 2016 work with terns of the Lobster Bay area in general, but in particular with the Roseate Terns (ROST) of The Brothers. The report also includes tern observations from other local residents.
    North Brother - 2005
    North Brother  (2005 photo)
    The Brothers as seen from Lower West Pubnico. (2005 photo)
    The Brothers as seen from Lower West Pubnico. (2005 photo)

    For a bird's eye view of The Brothers, see the YouTube aerial drone video of The Brothers taken by Riel D'Eon on October 8, 2016

    January 13, 2016 A high tide and strong winds swamped The Brothers today. See photo below taken on Feb. 19 by Glen Parsons of Nova Scotia Dept. of Natural Resources (NSDNR) while conducting an aerial waterfowl survey.

    North Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo
    North Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo

    North Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo
    North Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo

    Reference photo, North Brother, July 8, 2011 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Reference photo, North Brother, July 8, 2011 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Looks like we have some work to do before the terns arrive (around May 1st).

    I have never seen so much winter damage on N. Brother before. I am not even sure if I see any Roseate Tern (ROST) nesting shelters in the photo. All I see is some green tarp material and some black landscape fabric half buried in washed over beach rocks and gravel.

    The only good things I can see from this is that the washed up gravel and cobble may improve the nesting substrate onto which the terns nest as the vegetation growing there may be more sparse than in recent years. Hopefully, the salt water overwash washed out the Meadow Voles in the process. We will see.

    We do have a backup of ROST nesting shelters. Over the winter, Julie McKnight had about 150 new ones built, some for use on N. Brother and some for Country Island, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, where the ROST also nest.

    Julie is a Species at Risk Recovery biologist for Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), Dartmouth, NS. She is in charge of the Canadian Roseate Tern recovery program.

    I also have 9 more nesting shelters I recently built.

    South Brother suffered also.

    South Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo
    South Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo

    South Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo
    South Brother, Feb. 19, 2016 - Glen Parsons photo

    Reference photo, South Brother, July 8, 2011 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Reference photo, South Brother, July 8, 2011 - Ted D'Eon photo

    February 9, 2016 Another high tide. This time, not windy, but with a swell. The high tide came over the parking lot at Abbott's Harbour (where I launch my boat from). The photo below was taken about 30 minutes after high tide and water was still coming over the road.

    High tide at Abbott's Harbour, West Pubnico, NS - Feb. 9, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    High tide at Abbott's Harbour, West Pubnico, NS - Feb. 9, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    April 18, 2016 This morning, Rémi d'Entremont and I went to North Brother. All went well. We dropped the 500lb anchor block in place and brought 30 new ROST nesting shelters to the island. 21 of them were the ones Julie McKnight brought me from Dartmouth some time ago, and I constructed 9 more of the kind we used last year. Julie McKnight is a Canadian Wildlife Service biologist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She is the person in charge of Roseate Tern Recovery in Canada.

    Rémi d'Entremont preparing the mooring anchor. North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Rémi d'Entremont preparing the mooring anchor. North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    30 new Roseate Tern nesting structures - North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    30 new Roseate Tern nesting structures - North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    This year we will be trying out some new Roseate Tern nesting structures. Julie McKnight designed them to make the trapping of adult ROST more selective. They are designed to accomodate a remote control unit which will be fitted above the shelter's entrance. When activated remotely, a door (made of glass, I think) will drop, closing up the entrance and capturing the bird.

    Selective trapping should greatly improve our capture and banding effeciency when the time comes to do so.

    The new design of ROST nesting structures - North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The new design of ROST nesting structures - North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The island has changed a lot! That is even an understatement. The tarps and landscape fabric are mostly buried in the rocks and gravel, in some places, perhaps 30cm deep.

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Winter storm erosion has removed about one metre from the south end of the island and about 1/3 metre off from the southwest end. A lot of the vegetated area is now covered over with beach rocks and gravel.

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    There are still about 100 usable ROST nesting left on the island. Almost none are where they originally were. A lot, perhaps most, are in the tidal depression of the island. It's amazing how not more of them were swept away by the storm tides in January.

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We found some meadow vole burrows or tunnels. It is possible they are old and unoccupied.

    Meadow Vole tunnels/burrows - North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Meadow Vole tunnels/burrows - North Brother - April 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The washed up rocks and gravel over the ROST nesting area may make the placement of the ROST nesting shelters easier than I had anticipated before this visit today.

    April 22, 2016 North Brother. A most beautiful and pleasant day to begin to get the island ready for the terns' arrival in 10 days or so.

    Today, our work crew consisted of Julie McKnight from Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), Duncan Bayne and Christian Nickerson from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Tusket, Aldric d'Entremont, the warden of the Municipality of Argyle, and my daughter-in-law, Missie D'Eon.

    We left Abbott's Harbour for N. Brother at 10:30am. In 5 to 10 minutes we were there.

    We brought with us another 19 ROST nesting shelters which Julie had had fabricated in Halifax/Dartmouth. Also with us were 3 rolls of landscape fabric. 2 shovels, a rake, garbage bags, 4 plastic buckets, and 150 numbered ear tags (the kind used on cattle and sheep for identification purposes).

    We started with a cleanup of the island and collecting in piles, the ROST nesting shelters which had been strewn around by the winter storms.

    Missie bringing in a couple of the new ROST shelters - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Most of the old landscape fabric and tarps were removed or cut away as best we could.

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The loose dead vegetation was also cleaned up.

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Cleaning up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    And then we smoothed out an area where we placed several strips of landscape fabric which we would cover up with about 5 cm of beach gravel. It was all very hard work, especially carrying those heavy buckets. Just filling the buckets was plenty hard work!

    North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Laying out the landscape fabric - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Laying out the landscape fabric - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Filling up the buckets - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Covering up the fabric - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Covering up the fabric - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Covering up the fabric - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Covering up the fabric - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Once the fabric was covered, the nesting shelters were strategically placed on the gravel with a heavy stone on top to keep them from blowing away.

    Then it was time for the ear tags! The numbered tags were secured onto each shelter with stainless steel screws. This was mostly done by Julie.

    Julie screwing on the ear tags - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Julie screwing on the ear tags - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Some of the gang hamming it up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Some of the gang hamming it up - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    And the result!

    Some of the numbered nesting shelters - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Some of the numbered nesting shelters - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Some of the numbered nesting shelters - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Some of the numbered nesting shelters - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    This was a very difficult work day. I am so happy for the great working crew. We must have used about 80 or more buckets full of gravel to cover the fabric. Christian and Aldric each carried two buckets full at a time and Julie, one. Duncan and I were mostly busy filling the buckets and Missie was spreading the gravel evenly onto the fabric. It WAS hard work and I had to stop several times to rest (that's usually when I took the photos).

    In all, 55 ROST nesting shelters were put in place today. This was quite a feat but we still have about 100 more shelters to get in place before the terns arrive (or, at least, before the Roseate Terns arrive).

    The first terns are expected here around May 1 to May 3. The Roseates will be here a week or so later.

    We have about a couple more days of work to do on N. Brother before the island is ready for the Roseates. We will try to get this done by May 1.

    Oh, and I almost forgot. Duncan saw a vole scurrying over the landscape so, I guess, they are still here on the island.

    Aldric, Julie, Christian, Missie and Duncan - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Aldric, Julie, Christian, Missie and Duncan - North Brother - April 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Thank you very much to all! Your hard work was much appreciated. Ted

    April 26, 2016 Lobster fisherman, Edouard D'Eon reported a tern sitting on a lobster buoy about 3/4 mile west of The Brothers.

    April 28, 2016 Edouard D'Eon reported about 40 terns above North Brother this morning.

    Looks like they are really early this year!

    April 29, 2016 North Brother. A fine April morning. We left Abbott's Harbour for N. Brother around 10:45 am. The crew today consisted of Julie McKnight and Louise Ritchie of CWS Dartmouth, Carol McKnight (Julie's mom), Aldric d'Entremont, Manon Holmes, and me. Manon is a biology student at Université Sainte Anne who worked on The Brothers last summer as part of her studies.

    The plan today was to finish the placement of the ROST nesting shelters, all with gravel substrate and numbered ear tags. The island is now ready for the terns!

    I expected we would see at least a few terns flying around the island today, however, none were seen.

    Everyone carried at least a few buckets of gravel but Aldric is the one who did the lion's share. Thanks Aldric.

    Julie and I were mostly busy placing nesting shelters along the rocky ridge to the west of the tidal depression.

    Manon, Louise and Carol were busy working at the gravel covered landscape fabric area, setting up and arranging the shelters so that later on in the season, the shelter entrances would be visible from an observation point. They were also the ones who screwed on the number tags.

    Aldric d'Entremont, busy filling the buckets - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Aldric d'Entremont, busy filling the buckets - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Manon, overseeing the placement of the shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon, overseeing the placement of the shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Louise and Carol setting up ROST shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Louise and Carol setting up ROST shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Manon Holmes - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon Holmes - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Julie McKnight setting up some ROST shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Julie McKnight setting up some ROST shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Louise Ritchie and Manon Holmes - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Louise Ritchie and Manon Holmes - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Manon writing a secondary ID number on the tops of the shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon writing a secondary ID number on the tops of the shelters - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Louise Ritchie finishing off the last ROST shelter - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Louise Ritchie finishing off the last ROST shelter - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    ROST shelters at the gravel covered fabric area - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    ROST shelters at the gravel covered fabric area - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A closer look - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A closer look - North Brother - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Julie had brought with her some plastic tern decoys. We placed a few, here and there on the island.

    A couple of the tern decoys - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A couple of the tern decoys - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    It was a very tough day on North Brother, I am very grateful to all who participated.

    We got back to the wharf at Abbott's Harbour at 2:20 pm. Now, the island is ready!

    The crew - Manon, Carol, Julie, Louise, and Aldric - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The crew - Manon, Carol, Julie, Louise, and Aldric - April 29, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    May 6, 2016 North Brother. Shawn Craik and I arrived there at about high tide (high tide was at 9:48 am). There was a heavy swell but the landing was okay.

    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    As we were landing on the island, about 100 terns flew up. They all appeared to be Common Terns (COTE). We were not able to identify any Arctic Terns (ARTE) in the group. After a little while, a Roseate Tern (ROST) made its presence. We never saw more than one ROST at any particular time, but it is possible and quite likely that there could have been more than one.

    We saw 2 or 3 Common Terns flying around with fish in bill - most likely males trying to impress females for pairing. The fish being carried looked like mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus). I suspect the birds brought them back from Pubnico Harbour as mummichog are very plentyful all along its shores.

    The other discovery was that the island's tidal depression was "full" of water and filling even more by the minute as salt water was pouring in through the beach cobble.

    The pile of unused, but resuable, ROST nesting shelters we were planning to collect and take back to the mainland were all afloat in the "pond" and best left there until next time.

    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Most of the tern decoys we had placed there on our previous visit had been tipped over by the recent wind and rain. We put them back in place.

    Shawn Craik fixing up some tern decoys - North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Shawn Craik fixing up some tern decoys - North Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Shawn located a Common Eider nest scrape and there were a few COTE nest scrapes at the south end of the island.

    Shawn also saw a Swainson Thrush on the island. An odd place for a thrush but much stranger things happen every day somewhere!

    We also placed a number of painted tent pegs one metre from the edge of the southwest and south end of n Brother to help us track soil erosion. We do this every year.

    The south end of North Brother (note the high tide) - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The "south end" of North Brother (note the high tide) - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Our next planned task was to land on South Brother to destroy the gull nests. I knew there were some there from the presence of pairs of Great Black-back Gulls as viewed from the mainland at Lower West Pubnico. Please note: I do have a permit to do so.

    We had to abort the landing. As we approached South Brother, we realized a landing would be too risky. The tide was too high and there was too much swell.

    South Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    South Brother - May 6, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    May 13, 2016 North Brother. My assistant today was Manon Holmes.

    As we arrived at the island there was a gathering of terns at the edge of the beach. Three or 4 were ROST! That was nice to see. When all the terns took to the air, I estimated there were about 100; all COTE with 1 or 2 ARTE (perhaps more), and around 4 Roseates.

    It was a beautiful morning with no swell for a change. The lobster boats were out fishing and the island looked great!

    North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother (South Brother in the background) - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother (South Brother in the background) - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We found two Common Eider nests on N Brother - one containing 5 eggs and the other containinf 4.

    The nest of a Common Eider - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The nest of a Common Eider - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We found many COTE nest scrapes; most of them at the very southern tip of the island.

    The tide was low so the tidal depression was dry, but still full of "stuff".

    Some of the stuff - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Some of the "stuff" - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Manon and I removed 22 old ROST shelters and brought them back to the boat to take to the mainland.

    Manon Holmes with some old shelters - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon Holmes with some old shelters - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Taking the shelters to the boat - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Taking the shelters to the boat - North Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We then motored to South brother.

    South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The area where the top soil is, didn't appear to have changed much, but the level of beach cobble to the north of it had been washed out by about 60 cm. Not too long ago it was to about the same level at the brown top soil.

    On S Brother, we found another four Common Eider nests (one with 3 eggs, two with 4 eggs,and one with 5 eggs).

    Manon Holmes with Common Eider nest - South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon Holmes with Common Eider nest - South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Manon Holmes with Common Eider nest - South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon Holmes with Common Eider nests - South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Also there, we found one Great Black-backed Gull nest containing 3 eggs. The eggs and nest were destroyed.

    Great Black-backed Gull nest on the east side of South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Great Black-backed Gull nest on the east side of South Brother - May 13, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    There were also a few empty gull nests; they were covered over with rocks.

    Before we finished on S Brother, Manon and I placed painted tent pegs one metre from the edge of the island where the top soil is. This will help us keep track of the yearly erosion.

    We also measures the brown top soil area.

    The area above the really high tides measures about 4.3 metres wide by 26 metres long.

    May 18, 2016 North Brother. Aldric d'Entremont was my assistant today.

    We found only about 60 terns there; all COTE except two ROST and a couple of ARTE. The ROST seemed like a pair from their interaction in the air.

    The COTE have begun nesting! Four nests were found; one egg in each.

    One of the Common Tern nests on North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    One of the Common Tern nests on North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A third Common Eider nest was found; it contained 4 eggs.

    We checked most of the ROST shelters for nests but found none.

    Aldric d'Entremont checking ROST shelters for nests - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Aldric d'Entremont checking ROST shelters for nests - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    One of the new ROST nesting shelters had bird poop inside at its entrance. That was nice to see!

    Bird poop inside at the entrance of ROST shelter 43 - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Bird poop inside at the entrance of ROST shelter 43 - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A GBBG nest containing 2 eggs was destroyed.

    Aldric d'Entremont at the GBBG nest - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Aldric d'Entremont at the GBBG nest - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The Great Black-backed Gull nest - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The Great Black-backed Gull nest - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We removed another 16 old ROST shelters from the island.

    Some of the old ROST nesting shelters - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Some of the old ROST nesting shelters - North Brother - May 18, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We had a beautiful and pleasant morning on North Brother. Thanks Aldric.

    May 23, 2016 Alix d'Entremont reported one ROST feeding with a few other terns east of John's Island (near the gravel spit) at about 2:20 pm today.

    Alix also reported that on May 21, 2016, Karel Allard noted 4 ROST among the ARTE and COTE on Green Island, Shelburne County. (About 4 km southwest of Clark's Horbour)

    Alix writes, "I visited the island today (6:40 pm) and found them. I didn't stay too long since I was hungry, there was a swell and the fog was coming in. Also, see the photos in the eBird checklist. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29866944. "

    Alix also writes, "There was one ROST feeding with a few other terns near the green marker, north east of Vigneau's Island at about 7 pm today. The attached photo is of that ROST with a fish."

    Roseate Tern carrying fish - May 23, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo
    Roseate Tern carrying fish - May 23, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo

    Thanks, Alix.

    May 26, 2016 North Brother. What a wonderful visit!

    300 or so terns in the air. This time, lots of Roseates and Arctics!

    Roseate Tern - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Roseate Tern - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We checked all the ROST nesting shelters and found 15 nests; 14 containing one egg and 1 containing two eggs (7 nests were in my traditional nesting shelters; 6 were in the "Coquet Island" type; 2 were in the new design shelters).

    Aldric d'Entremont and Daniel Sauvé checking the shelters - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Aldric d'Entremont and Daniel Sauvé checking the shelters - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The ROST shelters being used - 28, 42, 66, 67, 74, 75, 76, 86, 93, 95, 99. 102, 104, 107, and 109. (Only shelter 104 contained 2 eggs).

    Roseate Tern nest shelter No. 104 - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    There was a questionable ROST or COTE nest at the entrance of a ROST shelter. I did not count it as a ROST nest yet. We will just have to see who incubates the eggs.

    The questionable nest - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The questionable nest - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We also did a rough nest count of the COTE and ARTE nests. We got another 242 nests (71 containing one egg, 103 with two eggs, 52 with three eggs, and 1 with four eggs).

    This gave us a grand total of 257 tern nests! I hope to get three times this amount in a couple of weeks.

    About 15 of the nests were ARTE. The ARTE nests were all at the north end of the island; most in the washed up seaweed.

    A lot of the COTE nests were on the western side of the island in old and washed up vegetation. I think, consisting mainly of Wild Radish stalks mixed in with seaweed.

    A few, unfortunately, were in the island's tidal depression. We will likely get a high tide before these eggs hatch.

    COTE nest in the tidal area - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    COTE nest in the tidal area - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    And YES, we have some Field Readable (FR) leg bands!

    Four of them! B00, B40, B73, and C04!

    C04 on North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    C04 on North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    My crew today: Aldric d'Entremont, Paulette d'Entremont-Sauvé and Daniel Sauvé.

    Daniel, Paulette and Aldric - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Daniel, Paulette and Aldric - North Brother - May 26, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Thank you all very much.

    June 2, 2016 North Brother. Another wonderful visit! The crew today was made up of Julie McKnight (CWS), Shawn Craik (University biology professor). Chloé Roy (biology student). and me.

    The tern colony still looked great!

    We checked all the ROST nesting structures and upped our nest number to 37! Last year at around this time (June 4) we had 32 ROST nests.

    I had been hoping for 30! Guess I better raise my expectations. Many of the nests containing one egg last week now contained two.

    Of the 37 nests, 14 contained one egg and 23, two eggs.

    I expect another couple of weeks for new ROST nests; we might even get 50 this year! We will see what we get in the next couple of weeks.

    Julie McKnight and I were able to read 6 more Field Readable (FR) leg bands.(B11, B30. L02, L03, L33, and 1V/51 ). IV/51 was seen going in and out of ROST nest #95. We also both saw B00 again today.

    ROST B11 - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    ROST B11 - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    ROST B30 - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    ROST B30 - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    ROST L02 - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    ROST L02 - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    There were about as many ARTE as ROST on North Brother today. The ARTE were hanging mostly around the north and northeast end of the island. This was where most of their nests were located.

    Arctic Tern - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Arctic Tern - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A Roseate Tern with its tail fully fanned open - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A Roseate Tern with its tail fully fanned open - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    See below, a photo of a ROST with a healed injury to its upper mandible. I took a half dozen photos of this bird. All showed the bird with the bill partially open; the tips of the upper and lower bill not being able to meet. The bird looked healthy so it must be able to feed itself okay. It was unbanded.

    A Roseate Tern with a deformed/injured bill - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A Roseate Tern with a deformed/injured bill - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The plastic tern decoys seemed good company to the COTE.

    A Common Tern Tern nesting among some decoys - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A Common Tern Tern nesting among some decoys - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A cozy Common Tern Tern nest - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A cozy Common Tern Tern nest - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    While Julie and I were busy trying to read leg bands and seeing if we could associate banded birds with nesting shelters, Shawn and Chloé were busy observing tern behaviour and the food they were bringing in.

    Chloé and Shawn - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Chloé and Shawn - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Chloé, Shawn and Julie - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Chloé, Shawn and Julie - North Brother - June 2, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    June 4, 2016 David Surette reported that he and his wife, Annis, visited Île Chespêque in Pubnico Harbour.

    They counted 30 tern nests (95 eggs), one gull nests, 31 Common Eider nests (132 eggs), and 3 Double-crested Cormorant nests. This is the second year the cormorants have nested in Pubnico Harbour (in generations).

    Of great interest is the number of Common Eider nests for such a small island!

    David reports one COEI nest contained nine eggs and another containing seven. Both numbers are unusual. Double clutches?

    Thank you, David and Annis.

    June 11, 2016 - North Brother. The official nest count day.

    The weather was fine and there was no swell so it was an easy landing on the island.

    The crew consisted of Duncan Bayne, Aldric d'Entremont, Manon Holmes, Chloé Roy, and me.

    The good news is that our ROST nest numbers are up! We have reached 42.

    The bad news is that our total tern nest numbers have fallen from the 722 of last year to 661. A storm, last week, may be a partial reason.

    We completely lost 3 ROST shelters. I am sure they were blown away by an easterly gale of last week. One unattached numbered tag was found on the western beach; its shelter was missing. Another shelter had been blown to a 45 degree angle orientation but was still in place. It was obvious the colony had suffered some from that storm.

    Eggs were beginning to hatch! We counted at least nine chicks. I think they were all COTE. No ROST eggs had hatched yet.

    I still expect a few more ROST nests over the next week or so.

    Egg number breakdown of COTE and ARTE nests:
    1 egg   -   92 nests (last year - 81)
    2 eggs - 284 nests (last year - 470)
    3 eggs - 240 nests (last year 135)
    4 eggs -    2 nests (last year 1)
    5 eggs -    1 nest (last year 0)

    Egg number breakdown of ROST nests:
    1 egg   - 15 nests (last year 20)
    2 eggs - 27 nests (last year 14)
    3 eggs -   0 nest (last year 1)

    Note: the "Official" nest count last year was on June 12, 2015.

    Common Tern nest containing 5 eggs - North Brother - June 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Common Tern nest containing 5 eggs - North Brother - June 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Tern Nests Numbers on The Brothers - 1990 to 2016
      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 9, 2001 817 63 880
    June 13, 2002 655 178 833
    June 13, 2003 648 102 750
      N. Brother S. Brother totals
    June 12, 2004 526 0 526
    June 13, 2005 445 0 445
    June 13, 2006 616 0 616
    June 10, 2007 365 0 365
    June 8, 2008 590 0 590
    June 13, 2009 546 0 546
    June 12, 2010 714 0 714
    June 11, 2011 725 0 725
    June 8, 2012 658 0 658
    June 10, 2013 680 0 680
    June 9, 2014 731 0 731
    June 12, 2015 722 0 722
    June 11, 2016 661 0 661
           

    The number of tern nests on The Brothers - A yearly comparison
    Please note: The Roseate Terns had not finished nesting at the time of these nest counts.

    A strange finding: a dead Star-nosed Mole was found in a overturned old ROST shelter in the tidal depression/pond of the island. How it got there - ???

    The Star-nosed Mole - North Brother - June 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The Star-nosed Mole - North Brother - June 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Aldric, Duncan, Chloé, and Manon - North Brother - June 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Aldric, Duncan, Chloé, and Manon - North Brother - June 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    June 16, 2016 - North Brother. Today, Julie McKnight brought Rob Ronconi to North Brother. The other members of the crew were Shawn Craik, Manon Holmes, Chloé Roy, Jim Wilson and me (Ted D'Eon).

    We captured 6 ROST. Rob, assisted by Julie, sutured GPS tracking tags to the backs of the 6 birds. The units will record the bird's position every 10 minutes during daylight for something like 600+ points. We have 6 more units to be placed on another 6 ROST tomorrow if all works well.

    The birds were captured using both treadle traps and remote controlled "shelter traps".

    Treadle traps - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Treadle traps - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Remote control shelter trap - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Remote control "shelter trap" - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The "shelter traps" were new this year. They were designed by Julie McKnight. They seem to be working well as ROST nesting shelters and superbly as traps when the remote control units are attached to them.

    Rob Ronconi and Julie McKnight processing a Roseate Tern - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Rob Ronconi and Julie McKnight processing a Roseate Tern - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Attaching a GPS tracking unit to a Roseate Tern - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Attaching a GPS tracking unit to a Roseate Tern - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Attaching a GPS tracking unit to a Roseate Tern - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Attaching a GPS tracking unit to a Roseate Tern - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The GPS tracking unit attached - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The GPS tracking unit attached - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    The GPS tracking unit attached - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The GPS tracking unit attached - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Some of the fish being brought in by the terns included White Hake and Atlantic Herring. I haven't seen any Sandlance yet.

    Common Tern carrying White Hake (I think) - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Common Tern carrying White Hake (I think) - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    There must be a Spotted Sandpiper nest on N. Brother. An adult bird showed itself several times near the centre of the island. We did not find its nest.

    Spotted Sandpiper - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Spotted Sandpiper - North Brother - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Chloé, Manon, Shawn, Julie, Rob, and Jim - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Chloé, Manon, Shawn, Julie, Rob, and Jim - June 16, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    It was a very busy day and all worked well. Thank you to all.

    We even found 5 more Roseate Tern nests today! The count now is 47!

    June 17, 2016 - North Brother. The second day of the GPS tagging of adult Roseate Terns.

    Again today, Rob Ronconi and Julie McKnight were in charge of attaching the tags to the birds. The rest of us (Shawn Craik, Manon Holmes, Chloé Roy, Alix d'Entremont, amd me), tended to the traps, retrieved the trapped birds, and did general tern observation. We photographed several new field readable leg bands. Alix found a new ROST nest under a wooden plank during his observations. We now have 48 ROST nests on North Brother!

    ROST nest under a wooden plank - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo
    ROST nest under a wooden plank - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo

    Yes, sometimes I also work. A great photo by Alix, especially with the ROST flying in front of me!

    Me(Ted) bringing in a captured ROST - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo
    Me (Ted) bringing in a captured ROST - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo

    Me(Ted) bringing in another captured ROST - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo
    Me (Ted) bringing in another captured ROST - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo

    Julie and Rob at work in the field hospital - N Brother- June 17, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Julie and Rob at work in the "field hospital" - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo
    North Brother - June 17, 2016 - Alix d'Entremont photo

    Manon, Shawn, Alix, Rob, Julie and Chloé - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon, Shawn, Alix, Rob, Julie and Chloé - N Brother - June 17, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We had a very successful day on the island! Thank you all.

    June 22, 2016 - North Brother. Today we began the recapture of the GPS tagged adult ROST.

    The crew consisted of Julie McKnight, Duncan Bayne, Manon Holmes, Chloé Roy, Ronnie d'Entremont and me (Ted D'Eon).

    The landing - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    The landing - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Yes, it hurts! - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Yes, it hurts! - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Duncan and Chloé watching the traps - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Duncan and Chloé watching the traps - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    One of the GPS tagged Roseate Terns - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    One of the GPS tagged Roseate Terns - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Eleven ROST were captured, but unfortunately, only 3 carried tags. I guess I was expecting 50/50 recapture since only one of each pair had been tagged. Perhaps the previously captured and tagged bird was a little more hesitant to walk again into the trap.

    With the help of an assistant, Julie removed the tags from the bird's back. It was a matter of snipping out the sutures and removing some adhesive tape.

    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Julie McKnight banding an unbanded ROST - N Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Julie McKnight banding an unbanded ROST - N Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    We now have 49 ROST nests. Ronnie spotted a new nest containing two eggs in an open crate-like structure.

    Roseate Tern nest No. 49 - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Roseate Tern nest No. 49 - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Roseate Tern nest No. 49 - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Roseate Tern nest No. 49 - North Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A decapitated Arctic Tern gives us a probability of at least sone owl predation on the island. A dead adult Common Tern was also found. There is always some tern chick mortality in the colony. This year is no exception but the number os not out of ordinary.

    Depredated Arctic Tern - N Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Depredated Arctic Tern - N Brother - June 22, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Ronnie captured a photo of a Common Tern carrying a fish. Not sure if it is a pollock or something else. (See below)

    Common Tern carrying a fish - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Common Tern carrying a fish - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Duncan, Ted, Julie, Chloé, and Manon - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Duncan, Ted, Julie, Chloé, and Manon - June 22, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    June 23, 2016 - North Brother. The crew today consisted of Julie McKnight, Duncan Bayne, Manon Holmes, Chloé Roy, and me (Ted D'Eon).

    The plan today was to do pretty well the same as we did the day before; attempt to capture as many GPS tagged ROST as we can and remove the tags.

    We managed to capture 5 more of the previously tagged birds but only retrieved 4 more tags. One of the birds must have lost its GPS tracker.

    Other than that, the visit went well, but we still have 4 more potentially tagged birds somewhere in the area. Perhaps we will get them next time.

    Manon and Julie working on a Roseate Tern - N Brother - June 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Manon and Julie working on a Roseate Tern - N Brother - June 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    A closer look at a GPS tracking tag - N Brother - June 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    A closer look at a GPS tracking tag - N Brother - June 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Julie, Chloé, Manon and Duncan - N Brother - June 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Julie, Chloé, Manon and Duncan - N Brother - June 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    See below: Some of the data retrieved from the GPS tags.

    The first image is from the data collected from ROST 2W62, an 18 year old bird first banded as a chick on Great Gull Island, New York in 1998.

    Note: The GPS tracker recorded one point every 10 minutes during the day for a few days. The software reading these points assigns a straight line between consecutive points. This is not necessarily, and most unlikely, the path taken by the bird. It gives us, however, the data we were looking for.

    Foraging track of ROST 2W62 a few days in June 2016

    Below is a compilation image of the tracks from all 7 recovered GPS tags. It certainly shows that their primary foraging corridor is from North Brother to John's Island; a distance of about 10 km. Note, some regular foraging into Pubnico Harbour and as far to the north as Abbott's Harbour.

    Image compiled from the GPS data of the 7 GPS units recovered - June 2016
    Image compiled from the GPS data of the 7 GPS units recovered - June 2016

    June 27, 2016 - North Brother. Today, we are going to try to capture a few more of the GPS tagged ROST. There were still four yet to be recaptured from the 12 which were tagged on June 16 and 17.

    The landing - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Scott Hecker photo
    The landing - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Scott Hecker photo

    My crew today consisted of Julie McKnight, Aldric d'Entremont, Ray d'Entremont, and Scott Hecker. Scott is the Shorebird Initiative Director of the International Conservation Fund of Canada. Scott has a long history of working with conservartion, and in partucular, with Roseate Terns in Massachusetts. He is well versed with the Roseate Tern; he knows them well. Welcome to the team.

    Aldric and me (Ted) checking the ROST nests - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Scott Hecker photo
    Aldric and me (Ted) checking the ROST nests - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Scott Hecker photo

    We found one more ROST nest. This one was in one of the new "shelter traps", and brings our total ROST nests so far to an even 50! I doubt we will get any more from now on as it is getting late in the nesting season. A good number, just the same!

    ROST nest numbers on The Brothers - 1991 to 2016
    ROST nest numbers on The Brothers - 1991 to 2016

    Nice to see an upswing!

    From those 50 nests, we counted 46 ROST chicks (including 2 dead ones) and 32 unhatched eggs. Some eggs were still in the processing of hatching so we do expect a few more chicks. Actually, we had 3 dead ROST chicks; the third one was found outside some nesting shelters.

    Julie and me processing one of the captured ROST - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Scott Hecker photo
    Julie and me processing one of the captured ROST - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Scott Hecker photo

    I regret to say that of the 3 ROST we caught today, not one had been outfitted with a GPS tracking tag.

    I also regret to say, that with all the ROST around the shelters and in the air, we did not see any carrying GPS tags. I don't know whether the birds had lost their tags or were just not around the island at the time of our visit.

    Two of the birds today were captured from the same nest. Neither was the one which had been GPS tagged earlier from that same nest! Strange!

    Possibly, three ROST were nesting in the same nest?

    Julie took breast feathers from all three birds from that same nest, as part of the normal processing this year. She plans to send the samples away for sexing the 3 terns through DNA, and perhaps also some other tests.

    The crew: textJulie, Aldric, Ray, and Scott - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    The crew: Julie, Aldric, Ray, and Scott - N Brother - June 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    July 5, 2016 - North Brother. Today we banded 37 Roseate chicks! A very good number. At least a couple of chicks were too young to band, having just hatched. Probably a few more yet to hatch.

    The crew today: Julie McKnight, Shawn Craik, Karen Potter, Lydia Giffin, and me (Ted D'Eon).

    Somehow, we missed checking a few nests which is unfortunate (#s 98-102). Julie says, "One sheet and one note-taker from now on - or at least a summing up before we leave the island." Several of us were checking different sections of ROST nests; I guess we didn't coordinate our effort well enough.

    Julie McKnight and Shawn Craik banding ROST chicks - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Julie McKnight and Shawn Craik banding ROST chicks - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Roseate Tern chick being banded - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Roseate Tern chick being banded - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Roseate Tern chick banding - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Roseate Tern chick banding - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Roseate Tern chick banding - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Roseate Tern chick banding - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Lydia Giffin placing the ROST chicks back into their shelter - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Lydia Giffin placing the ROST chicks back into their shelter - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Observation - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Observation - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We missed a few ROST chicks in our search for them. Julie estimates about 10. There could have been as many as 6 in the shelters which we missed, plus a few more in the vegetation.

    A note from Julie McKnight: The one nest I can’t figure out is 73. The nest check sheet says we checked it and there was a chick but we didn’t band it.

    There are 7 nests left to hatch and another 2 nests with an egg each that could still hatch.

    So far, 1 see 5 nests that will not hatch this year (they are over their 21-23 days of incubation) - # 15, 28, 72, 88, and 102.

    One of the missing chicks with its parent, I think - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    One of the missing chicks with its parent, I think - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    I got 15 field readable bands through my photos - B10, B13, B29 in nest #77, B40 in nest #78, B44, B65, B73, B76, B81, C11 in nest #74, L00 in nest 88, L03, L37, L40, and 81/5N.

    81/5N was the double metal banded bird which was hanging around C11 and nest #74. I never saw it go into #74. As far as I know, it was captured in nest #75 on June 17.

    Lydia, Julie, Shawn, and Karen - N Brother - July 5, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Thank you all.

    July 10, 2016 - Note from Alix d'Entremont: Shawn [Craik] had told me about his observations of ROST at Dennis Pt recently. I went today and had at least 6 ROST feeding in a group of 70ish terns just south of the southern most wharf at Dennis Pt Wharf:

    http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S30633856.

    The terns were obviously going back and forth from the harbour to the colony, but scanning through the flock several times I got about 6 ROST each time. I don't know my fish, but Carl d'Entremont and I were looking at small fish near the wharf and he thought they were small herring.

    Thanks, Alix and Shawn. Great info!

    July 11, 2016 - North Brother. Not the greatest day weather wise, but still okay and usable.

    The plan today was to check the ROST nests again and band any still unbanded chicks.

    The first thing we found was a recently dead ROST adult. It was a Country Island bird, C04, banded as an adult in 2011; a bird we have seen on N Brother in 2012, 2013 and in 2014 as well as earlier this year.

    Its cause of death was not apparent.

    Country Island ROST C04 - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Country Island ROST C04 - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    We found one of the two ROST chicks which had been only banded with the metal band on July 5. At that time it was felt they were too young/small for the plastic field readable (PFR) bands.

    We also found 3 unbanded ROST chicks. They were all banded with a PFR and a metal band.

    This brings the total ROST chicks banded this year to 40! A very good number for North Brother.

    Me (Ted D'Eon) checking the ROST shelters - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Me (Ted D'Eon) checking the ROST shelters - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Lydia Giffin checking out a ROST chick - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Lydia Giffin checking out a ROST chick - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    Shawn, Julie and Lydia banding ROST chicks - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Shawn, Julie and Lydia banding ROST chicks - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Shawn Craik cleaning up some weeds - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo
    Shawn Craik cleaning up some weeds - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ronnie d'Entremont photo

    The crew today: Julie McKnight, Shawn Craik, Lydia Giffin, and Ronnie d'Entremont.

    Lydia, Ronnie, Julie, and Shawn - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Lydia, Ronnie, Julie, and Shawn - N Brother - July 11, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    July 23, 2016 - Today, I had a flight over The Brothers in my powered paraglider at an altitude between 2000 and 2440 feet. I don't recall seeing any terns there at the time and if there were, I was too high in the air to disturb them.

    The reason for being there was to get some aerial photos of the island to compare with photos from previous years and also to see the layout of out ROST nesting shelters.

    North Brother - July 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    North Brother - July 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    North Brother - July 23, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    July 27, 2016 - North Brother. A quick look with Julie McKnight and Jason Mobley (Coordinator of their Coastal Bird Project, visiting from Aquasis – Brazil) to check the status of a few nests which had young chicks or unhatched eggs on out last visit. It is known that a lot of our Roseate Terns winter off the coast of Brazil and Jason has seen them there as well as worked with the tern conservation people over in Brazil.

    In the ROST nesting shelters area, there was no tern activity. All the tern chicks (ROST, COTE, and ARTE) had left the area. The ones which had not left the island with their parents, were waiting to be fed around the perimeter if the island.

    We only saw 3 or possibly 4 adult ROST flying around the island. Two of them were carrying fish - one, a herring and the other, a sandlance. There was only a small group of COTE there feeding their chicks at the edges of the island. A few were also carrying fish. The only one I could identify was a herring. I did not see any ARTE there today.

    ROST carrying herring - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    ROST carrying herring - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    ROST carrying sandlance - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    ROST carrying sandlance - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    One banded ROST chick was found dead. It had been dead for some time. Julie collected the band details. We saw a few Ruddy Turnstones and Least Sandpipers. It was difficult to see the sandpipers unless they moved.

    Least Sandpipers - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Least Sandpipers - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    Julie McKnight and Jason Mobley - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Julie McKnight and Jason Mobley - North Brother, July 27, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    July 31, 2016 - A note from Dr. Jeffrey Spendelow checking out the terns gathering at the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He began seeing our freshly banded ROST chicks there on July 25 (L79). It doesn't take long for the chicks and their parents to reach Cape Cod once they decide to head south!

    Jeff writes, "Adults L36, B14, and B99 were seen next, all on 7-26. L36 was seen again this morning being begged at by an unbanded HY, so I guess this means chicks L83 and L84 did not go to nest #67.

    On 7-28 I saw: 1) HY L45 get fed by B13 (so B13 is the second adult at nest #71),
    2) HY L59 get fed by B79 (so B79 goes to nest #49), and
    3) HY L68 get fed by L41 (you already had this family, but this means L41 probably is a male).
    "

    Thanks, Jeff. Much appreciated information.

    Note: HY = Hatching Year = A bird capable of sustained flight and known to have hatched during the calendar year in which it was banded. The HY Jeff is referring to would be ROST chicks we banded this season on The Brothers.

    August 2, 2016 - The graphic below is from CBC-TV Halifax, Nova Scotia. I believe one of the reasons the terns did so well on The Brothers this season was the reduced amount of rain in June and July.

    The graphic shows a 37% of the normal precipation for Yarmouth in June and July, 2016. Yarmouth is 30 km (19 miles) northwest of The Brothers.

    CBC-TV Weather graphic - August 2, 2016
    CBC-TV Weather graphic - August 2, 2016

    October 8, 2016 - North Brother. Today, I was fortunate enough to bring Riel D'Eon and his aerial drone to North Brother. We had planned this visit for this spting, before the terns had begun nesting, but work and weather always seemed to get in the way.

    See the YouTube aerial drone video of The Brothers taken by Riel D'Eon on October 8, 2016

    This was a perfect day for the drone, as you can see in the photo below. Thanks, Riel!

    North Brother - October 8, 2016 - Riel D'Eon photo
    North Brother - October 8, 2016 - Riel D'Eon photo

    North Brother - October 8, 2016 - Riel D'Eon photo
    North Brother - October 8, 2016 - Riel D'Eon photo

    A closer look at some of the ROST nesting structures - N Brother - October 8, 2016 - Riel D'Eon photo
    A closer look at some of the ROST nesting structures - N Brother - October 8, 2016 - Riel D'Eon photo

    Riel D'Eon setting up his aerial drone - N Brother - October 8, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Riel D'Eon setting up his aerial drone - N Brother - October 8, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    December 18, 2016 - Wind storm and high tide.

    I have a stone staircase going to the beach below my house in Middle West Pubnico, Nova Scotia. It was constructed about 10 years ago by me and my son, Nigel. It had gone through many storms and never moved until a strong wind and storm surge on December 18, 2016.

    Note in the photo below, that the bottom stone (weighing, probably 300 pounds) has been hauled out a few feet from where it was.

    Storm damage below my house, Middle West Pubnico, NS - Dec. 19, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo
    Storm damage below my house, Middle West Pubnico, NS - Dec. 19, 2016 - Ted D'Eon photo

    I have a feeling that the landscape on The Brothers has been altered also. I fear!

    December 30, 2016 - Wind storm and high tide. Again!

    I walked to the shore to check out the waves. Some were crashing up to the 5th stone of the staircase.

    Again, it doesn't look good for The Brothers.

    Just an observation.

    Field-readable Roseate Tern leg bands - North Brother - 2016. (See below)

    Resighted and new leg bands on Roseate Terns from North Brother in 2016
    May 26, 2016
    June 2, 2016
    June 16, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red B00 right leg -
    1172-79309
    Banded as an adult on North Brother on June 21, 2012.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2013, 2014 and 2015
    June 16, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red B10 right leg -
    1172-79311
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2012
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2015
    June 2, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red B11 right leg -
    1172-79312
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2012.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2013, 2014 and 2015
    July 5, 2016 Red B13 right leg -
    1172-79315
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2012.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2013
    July 5, 2016 Red B29 right leg -
    1172-79333
    Banded as a chick on North Brother on July 3, 2012.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2015
    Nested in ROST shelter #077-2016
    June 2, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red B30 right leg -
    1172-79334
    Banded as a chick on North Brother on July 3, 2012.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2014 and 2015
    June 16, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red B38 right leg -
    1172-79342
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2013.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2015
    May 26, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red B40 right leg -
    1172-79345
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2013.
    Nested in ROST shelter #078-2016
    June 17, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red B44 right leg -
    1172-79351
    Banded as a chick on North Brother in 2013.
    July 5, 2016 Red B65 left leg -
    0802-04928,
    Banded as a chick on N. Brother in 2007
    Also seen here in 2014 and 2015.
    June 17, 2016 Red B66 left leg -
    9822-51501,
    Banded as an adult on N. Brother June 12,2014
    Also seen here in 2014 and 2015.
    June 16, 2016 Red B72 left leg -
    9822-51507,
    Banded as an adult on North Brother on June 19, 2014.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2015
    Nested in ROST shelter #098-2016
    May 26, 2016
    June 16, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red B73 left leg -
    9822-51508,
    Banded as an adult on North Brother on June 19, 2014.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2015
    June 17, 2016 Red B75 left leg -
    9822-51511,
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2014.
    Also seen here in 2015.
    Nested in ROST shelter #098-2016
    July 5, 2016 Red B76 left leg -
    9822-51512,
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2014.
    June 17, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red B81 left leg -
    9822-51516,
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2014.
    Also seen here in 2015.
    June 17, 2016 Missing toes left leg -
    9822-51515,
    Banded as an adult on North Brother in 2014.
    Also seen here in 2015.
    May 26, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red C04 left leg -
    1172-79104
    Banded as an adult on Country Island in 2011.
    Also seen here in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
    C04 was found dead on N Brother on July 11, 2016.
    June 16, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red C11 left leg -
    1172-79111
    Banded as an adult on Country Island in 2011.
    It nested on Country Island in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2015
    Nested in ROST shelter #074-2016
    June 16, 2016 Red C50 ? leg -
    1172-79100
    Banded on Country Island.
    Nested in ROST shelter #074-2016
    June 17, 2016 Red C53 ? leg -
    1172-79448
    Banded as a chick on Country Island in 2012.
    June 17, 2016 Red C59 left leg -
    1172-79564
    Banded as a chick on Country Island in 2012.
    July 5, 2016 Red L00 left leg -
    9822-51536
    Banded as an adult on North Brother,
    Nova Scotia, June 25, 2015.
    Nested in ROST shelter #088-2016
    June 2, 2016
    June 16, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red L02 left leg -
    9822-51538
    Banded as an adult on North Brother,
    Nova Scotia, June 25, 2015.
    Paired with L05 in 2015.
    June 2, 2016
    June 16, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    Red L03 left leg -
    9822-51537
    Banded as an adult on North Brother,
    Nova Scotia, June 25, 2015.
    June 17, 2016 Red L05 left leg -
    0802-04917
    Banded as a chick on North Brother,
    Nova Scotia, in 2007.
    L05 band placed on it on June 25, 2015, at North Brother.
    Paired with L02in 2015.
    June 2, 2016
    June 17, 2016
    Red L33 left leg -
    9822-51562
    Banded as an adult on North Brother,
    Nova Scotia, July 10, 2015.
    June 16, 2016 Red L34 ? leg -
    xxxx-xxxxx
    Banded on North Brother, Nova Scotia, in 2015.
    Nested in ROST shelter #066-2016
    July 5, 2016 Red L37 left leg -
    9822-51568
    Banded as an adult on North Brother, Nova Scotia, in 2016.
    July 5, 2016 Red L40 left leg -
    9822-51569
    Banded as an adult on North Brother, Nova Scotia, in 2016.
    June 2, 2016 1V51 left leg -
    0802-69901
    Also seen on N. Brother in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014
    Banded as a chick on North Brother July 3, 2002
    Nested in ROST shelter #095-2016
    June 16, 2016 2W62 right leg -
    1172-36262
    Banded as a chick on Great Gull Island, New York in 1998.
    Also seen on North Brother in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
    Nested in ROST shelter #067-2016
    June 16, 2016 805N right leg -
    0802-04960, originally banded as a chick on North Brother in 2009
    Also seen on North Brother in 2014 and 2015.
    Nested in ROST shelter #099-2016
    June 17, 2016
    July 5, 2016
    815N right leg -
    0802-04961, originally banded as a chick on North Brother in 2009
    Also seen on North Brother in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
    June 16, 2016 895N right leg -
    0802-04970
    Banded as a chick on North Brother in 2009.
    Also seen on North Brother in 2013 and 2015.
    Nested in ROST shelter #073-2016
    June 17, 2016 895N right leg -
    0802-04970, originally banded as a chick on North Brother in 2009
    Also seen on North Brother in 2013 and 2015.
    June 17, 2016 918Y ? leg -
    1172-79009, originally banded as a chick on North Brother in 2010


    Marine Chart of Lobster Bay, Nova Scotia

    Click on the chart to enlarge.

    Ted C. D'Eon

    P.O. Box 14
    Middle West Pubnico
    Nova Scotia B0W 2M0
    Canada
    phone (home)1-902-762-2097
             (cellular)1-902-749-6883

    E-Mail to: ted@ns.sympatico.ca © Ted C. D'Eon, 2016