Finishing the Seabird Field Season
This is snipet of my last seabird update I wrote:
“The week of July 29th marked peak fledging from Colony Rock at Yaquina Head. Chick and adult pairs are still very vocal and can be heard calling from the water.”
Disturbances caused by adult and sub-adult eagles cleared most of Flat Top Rock at the beginning of July. We lost all murres in our plots on Flat Top on July 10th. However, about 1% of the murres remained on the rock feeding and protecting chicks until July 26th.
Since June, Colony Rock has had little disturbance allowing for forty of the chicks monitored to remain on the rock. All of these have fledged. Since chicks began fledging, only a few chick carcasses were found on Cobble Beach. However, this changed dramatically on July 29th, when 146 fledglings were found washed up on Nye Beach during a carcass survey.
Cormorants this year have been doing very well on Lion’s Head, Smuggler’s Cove, Lower Colony Rock, and Seal Rock. On Seal Rock in particular, every Brandt’s pair within our plots are successfully rearing chicks. Many are five to six weeks old, too big to fit in the nest, and are practicing flight. The Headland is the only location where cormorants were unsuccessful. Initially it was filled with Brandt’s cormorants and sixty-six nests were mapped for monitoring. But, eagles perched on the headland while disturbing Flat Top, caused all but ten nests to be abandoned. Since then, pelagic cormorants have begun nesting on the walls of headland where they seem to be doing well. The remaining ten mapped Brandt’s nests, have had little disturbance and now pairs have fledging chicks.
In the News: Cheryl Horton captured video of the Japanese dock that washed up on Agate Beach last summer. The discovery was picked-up by many news sources, including: