[Tweeters] RE: Caspian Terns/New wrinkle

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Sun Aug 1 23:41:49 PDT 2010

Whatcom Birders,

I finally made it down to Bellingham harbor today to have a look at the
Caspian Tern colony. It's quite a spectacle! The colony has obviously been
very successful this year. Several of the larger young were exercising their
wings, and a couple of them made short flights within the colony.

This colony reminds me very much of the large colony that was active about
20 years ago on the Everett navy base property. They were successful there
for the same reason as in Bellingham-because of a chain-link fence
surrounding the area which prevented access by cats, dogs, and other
predators. That is, they were successful until the Navy decided it needed to
develop the property, and kicked the terns out. I presume the same thing
will happen eventually in Bellingham, but I hope the terns have at least a
few years to breed unmolested before this happens.

Joe, has anybody reported Arctic Terns on the site this year? There were at
least 2 or 3 pairs of Arctic Terns that used to nest in the Everett colony,
and I have heard that there were also a few Arctic Terns in the tern colony
at Dungeness Spit, which is presumably where most of the Bellingham terns
came from.

As for estimating the number of Caspians on the site after dark-what about
infrared photography from a nearby elevated location, such that you can
count the number of individual birds? Sounds like it should be feasible,
although you wouldn't be able to tell adults from chicks.

Joe, thanks for your frequent updates on the tern colony!

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

From: owner-whatcombirds at lists.wwu.edu
[mailto:owner-whatcombirds at lists.wwu.edu] On Behalf Of mechejmch at aol.com
Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2010 10:14 AM
To: whatcombirds at lists.wwu.edu
Subject: Caspian Terns/New wrinkle

We were at a friend's place last night after 10 PM and as fate would have
it, she lives just across and above Cornwall from the tern colony.

The "new wrinkle" comes from the fact that well after dark, when I glassed
the area from her balcony, the ground was covered in white, which turned out
to be many more terns than any of us have counted to date.

I've contacted the project coordinator and will contact the port to see how
we might better estimate the number of birds when they've settled in after
dark....when we're not there to count!

Stay tuned,

Joe Meche

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