Least Terns are Turning Up

Hello everybody, and welcome back to the blogosphere!

 

I am writing this blog post ahead of time, as the next couple of days I am going to be quite busy with setting up for World Migratory Bird Day, my graduation, my birthday, and Mother’s Day! Busy times!

 

So let’s jump right into it, shall we? A couple of weeks ago, I helped Robert Patton and his monitoring group set up a grid composed of housing shingles or tiles, whatever you want to call them, at an area across the channel from the refuge office. Least Terns love to nest here because it’s a wide expansive space with a lot of visibility and not too much vegetation, although there are some weeds sprouting due to the late rains we’ve had this spring. This grid is used for plotting where the Least Tern nests are located and also as shelter for the chicks. It was very tedious work picking up tiles, labeling tiles, loading them back into the truck, dropping them out of the truck, and making sure they were all in a straight line and all the same distance away from each other.

 

Least Tern nest!

Least Tern decoys; they blend in pretty well.

So fast forward a couple of weeks and the grid is being put into good use; as all of us (six total) fan out in a section and head east and walk the entire length of the grid, then turn around and pivot and do the same thing coming back, section by section. It is very slow progress, sometimes with no reward, but that is the game of looking for nests. We did find nests, though! I remember walking with my head down and looking for scrapes and tracks, then when I looked up there was a flock of Least Terns right in front of me. I was like, wow, they are really tame and not scared of people of all. Well, that’s because they were Least Tern decoys; no wonder they didn’t fly away. Some of the decoys were toppled over, possibly by raptors diving down and trying to snatch up a potential meal. The joke is on you, raptors; these terns are inedible. HA!

 

WSPU: I have officially seen my first Snowy Plover chick! If you thought Snowy Plovers were cute, well have I got news for you–their chicks are even cuter. They’re like little fluff balls of happiness with tiny little legs and just the cutest face. I’m pretty much useless for a couple minutes because I’m too busy oooohing and awwwing when I see them, but, hey, you try not being distracted by the cuteness that is a Snowy Plover chick.

 

See everyone next week!

 

-Janne

 

Janne Torres
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