Seabird Island News - Vol. 2 - 03 June 2022

Pond Island Resupply
Terns took to the sky as Paula and Sue arrived on Pong Island for a resupply visit Photo: Sue Schubel


It’s been a big week on Matinicus Rock.  The island’s Common Murre count hit 110, a high count compared to recent years. Later in the day, the team spotted a funny looking alcid that resembled a Dovekie. Closer inspection concluded it was a Razorbill in transitional plumage. Everyone is beginning to get giddy for guillemots.  Matinicus Rock found it’s first Black Guillemot egg and the team on Eastern Egg Rock as been anxiously checking burrows for grubbable guillies 


The islands have seen an egg-stravaganza this week, as the tern egg counts continue to climb steadily. Stratton Island terns are beginning to take up residence in the new field and the team marked 65 active Roseate Tern nests on the island. While visiting Outer Green Island, Seabird Sue spotted a passing tern with an orange flag, indicating it was banded in South America. The team on Matinicus Rock found an Artic Tern and Common Tern pair incubating a nest in the same spot a hybrid pair has been seen in years past. Finally, researchers have had plenty of practice with their fish identification during this week’s feeding frenzy. Notable sightings include Red Rock Eel and Atlantic Saury. The consensus from Jenny Island: “Hake is out. Sandlance is so hot right now.” Our fingers are crossed for a fish-filled summer. 

 Other Birds

  • Six out of the seven Manx Shearwater burrows checked on Matinicus Rock are active. One Manx walked right up to the speaker playing bird calls! 

  • A group of 13 White-winged Scoters graced the shores of Jenny Island. 

  • A Snowy Owl made it’s presence known on Seal Island.  

  • The Stratton Island team spotted the season’s first Eider chicks!  

Bird Word of the Week

Willie and Millie, our on-cam puffin pair, are doing great with the egg in their burrow. Think you have the perfect name for the puffling-to-be? Submit your recommendations here! In other news, our surprise song sparrow has flown the coop. As if on cue, our guillemot pair returned to their burrow and laid an egg in short order. Resident cam expert, Maeve Cosgrove, has been spending time on Seal Island and held a Q & A session with our researchers. Visit to find out what she has learned!   

Island Life

Spring weather is Maine is notoriously erratic. Fog, rain and wind have limited resighting and productivity stints.  Island teams were bracing themselves for a stormy Saturday, but mother nature went easy on our islanders; treating them to a few passing showers and spectacular views of rainbows. Eastern Egg Rock experienced a special seasonal weather event caused by the terns. May 31st will forever be known as the day the poop rained.  

While stuck inside, researchers have passed the time making new traps, entering data and preparing flags for the upcoming tern census. Some teams are even getting caught up on their favorite shows, Stranger Things, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Love Island to name a few. 

Stratton Island double rainbow
A double rainbow appeared over Stratton Island as the sun set on Saturday evening. Photo: Stratton Island

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