Black legged Kittiwake with first chick of season
First of season THICK-BILLED MURRE
Wilson's storm petrel
First SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS of the season
First of season RED-NECKED PHALAROPES
We have spent most of our time off of Blacks Harbour, with a few trips out to the wolves banks.We usually visit Whitehorse island after viewing the whales and then make our way up into Head Harbour passage. All three shearwater species have been present on many of our trips, especially when we get offshore near the wolves. Manx shearwaters are still around in good numbers with great shearwaters becoming more abundant. Puffins continue to be sighted on every trip. More bonaparte's gulls, many in breeding plumage, are turning up in the area around head harbour passage and the number of terns is also increasing. Also, Todd Watts recorded the first RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and THICK-BILLED MURRES of the season.
I recorded my first black legged kittiwake chick on July 19th. Some of the nests are too high to see into and I suspect many of the higher nests have chicks in them as well. I will try to follow this particular nest and see how the chick does.
|Black-legged kittiwake with chick|
|Black-legged kittiwake, second year|
Lots of black guillemots still around the island, they prefer to nest on the western side away from the gulls. Their preferred prey seems to be Butterfish (Pholis gunnellus), a long, slender, eel-like fish that lives in crevices of rocks and amongst seaweed.
|Black guillemot with butterfish|
The herring gull chicks are growing fast, and it appears that a few may have fledged. I saw one chick with well developed primaries that had waterlogged itself and was attempting to climb back up the rocks. The number of bald eagles has increased a lot and there is a constant war being fought in the air over the islands as the eagles attempt to catch some of the young birds. The other day Danielle photographed an eagle eating a black guillemot on the island...the bright red legs were all that was left.
|Herring gull chicks|
|Doesn't say anything about eagles...|
|Being escorted off the island|
On the western side of Whitehorse is a ravens nest. I have not seen ravens in it all season, but on the 19th there was a pair in the nest. I do not believe it has been used so far this season.
Today, July 21st saw a large increase in activity over the wolves banks. Large groups of alcids (razorbills, murres, puffins) were feeding with all three shearwater species and a few northern gannets were around as well. This was more activity then I have seen all year. I also saw a single Wilson's storm petrel and a few common terns were perched on floating debris. The SW winds helped to push some bird activity closer to shore during our evening trip and we were treated to a spectacle of 20-30 diving gannets feeding alongside puffins, murres and razorbills plus all three shearwater species. Quite a sight too see! We certainly live in a great area for pelagic birds.