Well, it’s over. Tuesday was the last day of banding for Spring 2016. We opened nets as usual at sunrise, and then had to close for showers (the rain kind, not the soap and hot water kind !) at 0700. As a result, we had a civilized breakfast and then reopened nets until nearly lunchtime, when more rain threatened. After another civilized meal, we jumped right into the tasks involved with closing the station for the season. Since more rain was threatened, our first priority was to get the nets in while they were still dry. After that it was a matter of completing the inventories, packing everything away and cleaning up our two rooms at the Grass Lab. After dinner we did our last day’s bookkeeping and then went up to pack our gear in Dorm 1.
We had a total of 29 new birds banded, as well as two clearly male Song Sparrows. There was some other exciting news on the bird front – there appear to be at least 3 active Black Guillemot nests on Appledore, and, drum roll please, Maestro, we have confirmed the report of Dave Bonter’s intern Liam of breeding Northern Shoveler at Crystal Lake. This species does not appear on the latest revision of the species checklist so this may be a brand new phenomenon. Unfortunately, the outcome may not be good because the ducklings seen by Peg and Susan on Tuesday were much fewer than originally reported by Liam the previous day. As we all know, little fuzzies are always in real jeopardy on Appledore, or The Club Larus Buffet as it is also known.
We had an exciting departure on Wednesday morning; the boat schedule initially called for a Kingsbury run but the combination of the surge at the dock and the low tide meant that the JMK would be at risk of grounding in Babb’s Cove so we had a wet, wild and woolly ride on the Heiser instead. Captain Ossian did a fine job of keeping us all safe and mostly dry on the way in. As the attached screenshot will show, at the time of our departure the wind was from the West-Northwest at 26 knots, or 30 mph. By the time we got past Whaleback Light into the River the conditions were calm enough for a photo of the closeup crew, Peg, Susan and Anthony, which you’ll find attached along with the final report.