GANNET REPORT - 1999 - Ted C. D'Eon


The Gannet Rock Recolonization Project - Year #6
  • GANNET REPORT - 2000 (Ted C. D'Eon)
  • GANNET REPORT - 1998 (Ted C. D'Eon)
  • GANNET REPORT - 1997 (Ted C. D'Eon)
  • GANNET REPORT - 1996 (Ted C. D'Eon)

  • Marine Chart of Lobster Bay


    1999 was year #6 of the Gannet Rock Recolonization Project. 49 Gannet decoys were placed on Gannet Rock on April 20 and removed on September 27.

    No Gannets have nested on Gannet Rock yet. Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) loaned me a sound system to squawk out Gannet colony sounds for Gannet Rock. I would go to the Rock every couple of weeks to change the battery which was running the system. This also gave me a good excuse to go to Gannet Rock to see what was going on. The Rock is a 30 km from West Pubnico where I dock my boat and a landing there can only be achieved when the winds and seas are relatively calm. There is no beach nor any great landing area on this island.

    From July 12 to August 17, on four consecutive visits, one mature Gannet was observed on the Rock resting and preening with the decoys. It allowed me to photograph and videotape it at a relatively close range with little apparent intrusion on its privacy.

    I expect next year will show even more promise of the project reaching success. 1999 has been an exciting year for Gannet Rock, all made possible with the assistance of the many friends and volunteers helping me in all the varied aspects of the project.

    I am looking forward to what the year 2000 will bring to Gannet Rock. I am still optimistic.

    The following is a chronological listing of my 1999 work with the Gannets of the Lobster Bay and the Gannet Rock area of southwest Nova Scotia, Canada. The report also includes Gannet observations from other local residents.
    March 1999 - Reports from lobster fishermen of single Gannets migrating through Lobster Bay. I purchased a 55lb Zodiac, with a 2hp motor, to use as a tender for my boat as well as a landing craft for Gannet Rock. The decoys are being fixed up and refurbished.

    April 14, 1999 - Received Sound System for Gannet Rock. Loaned to me by Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) to aid our Gannet decoys to attract potential nesters. The sound system was manufactured by Sigma Electronics of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and consists of a portable CD player playing Gannet colony sounds over two speakers. The system is weatherproof and is powered by a 12 volt rechargeable battery which has to be replaced every 10 to 14 days.

    April 17, 1999 - Failed Gannet Rock attempt. Trouble starting the boat, and when it was started it was too wet and windy. Crew: Lester, Andrew, Josette, and Ingrid D'Eon.

    April 20, 1999 - Gannet Rock success! 49 of the 51 decoys were glued and tied to the rock. Two decoys were damaged in transit. The sound system is operational! Crew: Andrew D'Eon, Jean-Bernard, Rémi, and Martial d'Entremont. We saw one migrating gannet 2 or 3 km from Gannet Rock.

    Martial in charge of the Zodiac


    Andrew with the Gannet decoys

    Rémi, Jean-Bernard, Andrew, and Martial
    Job well done

    One of the two horns of the sound system

    Box containing the CD player

    May 1, 1999 - Battery change on Gannet Rock. Sound system was still running fine. We observed 37 Gannets near Gannet Rock in 2 hours. Crew - Lester and Nigel D'Eon, and Israel d'Entremont. 30 Black or Surf Scoters were seen near Peases Island.

    May 12, 1999 - Lobster fisherman reported the sound system off.

    May 15, 1999 - Battery change on Gannet Rock. Sound system still appears to be running fine. We observed 54 migrating Gannets near Gannet Rock in an hour. Crew - Lester, Jerome and Benjamin D'Eon. There were many gulls on the rock. The sound system appears to be attracting them. Lobster fisherman reports 3 live Gannets on Gannet Rock earlier in the week.

    May 29, 1999 - Battery change again. Sound system operating fine. Some of the gel-coat-over foam decoys show pecking damage. Crew - Lester, Andrew and Josette D'Eon, Jean-Bernard d'Entremont, and my daughter, Ingrid. We saw one flock of 20 immature Gannets a few km east of Gannet Rock. They appeared to be migrating. We found no Black Guillemot nests though there were many Black Guillemots around. There were also many gulls on the rock and a few Great Black-backed Gull nests.

    June 13, 1999 - Battery change. Removed one decoy, damaged by pecking. On Gannet Rock we found 2 Arctic Tern nests with 2 eggs each, 2 Black Guillemot nests with 2 eggs each and 1 with 1 egg. Five immature Gannets and 2 or 3 Sooty Shearwaters were seen a few km from Gannet Rock. Crew - Maurice and Arsene D'Eon, Lisette, Peter and Raoul d'Entremont. It was a very foggy trip. The landing on Gannet rock was a bit tricky. We also stopped on Peases Island and Ellenwood Island.

    July 6, 1999 Department of Fisheries Officer, André Cottreau, reported finding one Gannet on Green Rock, with some gulls. He also reported 20 to 30 Puffins there.

    July 12, 1999 We managed to Gannet Rock for a battery change after too many days of rough weather. My crew on this day was Jean-Bernard d'Entremont, Raymond S. d'Entremont, Rémi d'Entremont and his brother Laurent. I feel we are getting closer to pay dirt with this project!

    Rémi and Raymond carried the charged battery to the top of the Rock while I was busy photographing a young Harbour Seal at very close range. As Raymond placed the battery down he looked around at the Gannet decoys. One of the heads appeared to be moving, looking around. It was a mature Gannet in the midst of our decoys! It stayed there for several minutes while they were trying to get my attention, however, before I could get to the top of the Rock, it had flown away.

    The sound system had run the battery dry and was off, so it seems the Gannet was not deterred by the silent decoys. This was a milestone for the project!

    Other noteworthy discoveries: We found three 2.5 week old Arctic Tern chicks and 7 other nests with Arctic Tern eggs. We also found 2 Black Guillemot chicks (about 10 days old) in one nest site and a single egg in another. Three Puffins also flew by Gannet Rock while we were there.

    We then went to Green Rock where we counted about 46 Puffins, 2 Razorbill Auks, about 65 Black Guillemots. One immature Gannet flew by. On the way back to Abbott's Harbour we went by an Ocean Sunfish which we observed at close range, and saw several Harbour Porpoises. Of course, there were many Harbour Seals around Gannet Rock, but especially at Green Rock.

    The weather was perfect and everything went extremely well.

    July 27, 1999 - Again to Gannet Rock for a battery change. Crew: Rémi d'Entremont, Ronny d'Entremont and my daughter, Ingrid.

    Luck was with us again! When we reached the top of the Rock, Mr. or Mrs. Mature Gannet was in the middle of our decoys. We photographed it for 15 minutes or more before it flew away. 20 more Gannets were counted during our trip back to Abbott's Harbour.

    Ted with the live Gannet among the decoys - July 27/99

    "One of these things is not like the others!"

    Another Gannet photo by Ingrid

    August 3, 1999 - Battery change again. Crew: Bernard Surette with his sons, Christian and Gabriel, Richard (twin brother to Bernard) Surette with sons, Andrew and Jonathan, and nephew, Jean-Paul d'Entremont, and, visiting from Spain, Alban d'Entremont.

    Another Gannet Rock Landing

    The Crew - Photo by Jean-Paul

    After fixing a hydraulic problem with the boat, we left Abbott's Harbour for Gannet Rock in the early afternoon. One Gannet flew from the Rock as we arrived. Six or seven more Gannets were seen in the area. Two Black Guillemot nests with 2 almost-fledged chicks in each were found. Another Black Guillemot's nest contained one cold egg. As we were getting ready to leave Gannet Rock, we were treated to a zoo-like performance by a young Gray Seal . It appeared to be just as curious about us as we were about it. It was beautiful day and a great trip. (Note: Bernard, Richard, and Alban were schoolmates of mine - Bernard and Richard now live in Chalk River, Ontario; Alban is a university professor in Spain.)

    E-Mail received from Tony Diamond, Aug. 3/99 - "... You will be delighted to learn that we photographed an adult gannet brooding a 2-week-old chick on WhiteHorse Island, NB, 10 days ago. Things are happening!" Tony Diamond is a biology professor, teaching at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B.

    August 17, 1999 - Gannet Rock battery change. The sound system was off, however Mr. or Mrs. Gannet was there in the decoys preening itself, unconcerned with our presence. I photographed and videotaped it again. It became agitated only when the sound was switched back on after changing the battery, and it then flew away only to land in the water a few hundred metres away.

    Crew: Flavien d'Entremont, Albert d'Entremont, Rémi d'Entremont, and Jean-Bernard d'Entremont.

    August 21, 1999 - On his boat trip from Digby to Pubnico with Daryl Amirault, Jean-Bernard d'Entremont reported seeing as many as 100 Gannets. Other fishermen, fishing in the Bay of Fundy between Grand Manan and the Digby Neck have reported seeing more Gannets than usual this summer.

    September 1, 1999 - Another battery change on Gannet Rock. The sound system was off. No Gannets, no Puffins, and no Black Guillemots were seen on this trip. We even went to Green Rock to see if we could find a Puffin, but to no avail.

    My crew on this day: Rémi d'Entremont, Jean-Bernard d'Entremont with Kirk and Shirleen Atkinson and their children, Andrea and Adam.

    September 27, 1999 - Removal of Gannet decoys and sound system. Due to high winds, rain storms and rough waters of the previous couple of weeks, from the dying blows of several hurricanes, I was later than I had planned in getting to Gannet Rock to retrieve the equipment.

    About half of the decoys had become unglued from the Rock but were still in the area, being held by the vinyl-coated anchor cable. There were a few broken bills and tails, and one decoy had a broken neck. Another decoy had broken loose from the cable and was found in a nearby stagnant pond on top of the rock.

    Five to 10ml of water had somehow made its way into the sound system control box. The electronics are most likely allright.

    No incidences to report in getting everything back to the boat. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) patrol boat the "Jet-FX" paid us a visit while we were loading up the boat.

    Of note was one Perigrine Falcon which made several passes by Gannet Rock while we were there. Also seen was a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Flicker, Double-crested and Great Cormorants and a couple of immature Black Guillemots.

    My crew consisted of Rémi d'Entremont, Jean-Bernard d'Entremont, and Troy Amirault. There was very little ocean swell at Gannet Rock in spite of the hard weather we had had.

    I am looking forward to next year.

    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

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    © Ted C. D'Eon, 1999

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