April 8, 1996 - We had 20 fibreglass Gannet decoys almost ready for placement on Gannet Rock. The plug for the Gannet mould was made by Lester D'Eon and Kendrick d'Entremont. Neil LeBlanc of Wedgeport fabricated a mould from the plug, afterwhich, Lester made the decoys and I painted them. We will make out first attempt on the weekend.
April 12-13, 1996 - Gannet Rock trip cancelled. Weather not good enough for an attempt. My next window of oppertunity is on Friday, April 19.
April 19, 1996 - Fine day, choppy water, ocean swell. We left Abbott's Harbour, Middle West Pubnico, at 7:30am. My crew consisted of my son Nigel, with Andrew D'Eon, Lance D'Eon, Monique D'Eon, and a lady (Nicole) visiting from Germany. We had on board, the "Zodiac" of the West Pubnico Dive Club.
We got to within 4 miles of Gannet Rock. The tidal rip to the north-west of the Spectacle Islands was just too treacherous to venture through. We turned back. 10 or 11 Gannets flew by between Gannet rock and The Spectacle Islands.
I would try again at my next chance. Daryl Amirault reported seeing about 1000 mature Gannets, migrating through Lobster Bay, the previous day, April 18.
April 20, 1996 - Lobster fisherman, Paul Shand, of Middle West Pubnico, reported the arrival of the first 2 Puffins to Noddy Island. He commented on the number of Gannets migrating by. Perhaps 1000 a day on April 19 and 20. He also noted Gannets alighting on the water; something also mentioned by other fisherman. In previous years this was rarely seen.
April 22, 1996 - We tried again for Gannet rock. My crew consisted of Raymond S. d'Entremont, Adam D'Eon, and Pierre d'Entremont. We got to the rock O.K. We put 2 anchors out, placed the "Zodiac" in the water, and after eyeing up the situation for some time, decided a landing would be too dangerous. There was still just too much swell. Disappointed, we headed back to Abbott's Harbour. There were no migrating Gannets to be seen. We did, however see 2 Puffins near Gannet Rock, flying towards Green I.
May 5, 1996 - THE GANNET DECOYS ARE ON GANNET ROCK! Lester D'Eon, Kendrick d'Entremont, and I got to the rock at about 10:45am. The landing was uneventful. The boat was anchored with 2 anchors and we had a third line going to the rock. By pulling ourselves in the "Zodiac" along this line it was easier to go back and forth, from ship to shore, than it would have been using the oars.
The decoys were glued using silicone "rubber" caulking compound, and tied together using 100 ft. of vinyl coated clothesline cable. Each decoy has a metal "eye" under the tail into which the cable was either run through or clipped onto using metal clips strung onto the cable. The cable was attached to three anchors on the rock.
Four garbage bags full of "nesting" material were stuffed in nearby fractures.
June 8, 1996 - 7 or 8 immature Gannets were seen on our boat trip to Round, Mud, and Noddy Islands to see the Puffins, and to Seal Island for a visit. My crew consisted of Virginia D'Eon à Robert, with their children, Lynette and Jeanette, also Lisette and Peter d'Entremont, with their son, Raoul, and my children, Nigel and Ingrid.
Most of the Gannets were seen at about 8 miles from Abbott's Harbour, on our way back from Seal Island. Also of note in the area of the Gannet sightings, there were several small pods of Harbour Porpoises. They were most probably feeding on the same food source.
June 22, 1996 - Gannet Rock with Lester and Lance D'Eon. Our Gannet decoys are pretty much as we had left them. No signs of real Gannet presence on the rock. There are some Great Cormorants there but no sign of nesting either. We do find 7 Arctic Tern nests with eggs only, no tern chicks; and we also find 6 Black Guillemot nests.
July 4, 1996 - My family went in Percé, Québec. We took a ferry to île Bonaventure, the site of the largest Gannet colony in North America. We first viewew the colony from the boat. Later my son, Nigel, and I hiked with a still and a video camera to the colony, for a first hand experience. It was awesome. We watched and photographed them from a few feet away. Sometimes they waddled onto our side of the fence. They seemed as approachable and unconcerned with us, as barnyard fowl. Quite the thrill!
July 24, 1996 - In the span of 10 minutes I saw 6 Gannets diving in the water while I was scanning a portion of the bay with my spotting scope, and still sitting on my chair by my livingroom window. It was the first time I had seen this. While looking out towards Mud IslandI could see a small flock of Gannets, 4 to 8 miles (6 to 12 km) away.
My son, Nigel, and Réal d'Entremont, accompanied me in my boat to check out the numbers. We found only 7 or 8 Gannets, and none were seen diving for food. It was a bit disappointing.
August 17, 1996 - With Andrew, Lance, and Maurice D'Eon, and Nigel, and with the use of the West Pubnico SCUBA Diving Club's Zodiac, we removed all the Gannet decoys from Gannet Rock for the 1996 season. Everything went without a hitch of any kind. We even saw 2 immature Gannets, in the fog, on our way back to Abbott's Harbour.
There was again, this year, no evidence of any Gannet nesting attempts on Gannet Rock. Seeing Gannets diving in the bay for the first time, from my livingroom window, on July 24/96 was an encouraging sign of their presence here during the summer. We will repeat the process again in 1997 with more decoys.
Ted C. D'Eon
P.O. Box 100 West Pubnico Nova Scotia B0W 3S0 Canada phone (home)1-902-762-2097 (work)1-902-762-2793 (FAX) 1-902-762-2885