Birds at Machias Seal Island

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Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 04:37:19 -0300

From:    Ralph Eldridge NBNature Listserv
Subject: MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT

The following was written THURSDAY, APRIL 30 at 09:00 hrs. but fell victim to the list outage.

Several raptors are moving through this morning and pausing long enough to hunt for breakfast. 3 HARRIERS, 3 MERLINS & 1 PEREGRINE have been distinguished and one of more of them has been cruising about most of the time.

Add 2 RAVENS to the raptor presence and it's understandable that everything else is keeping a very low profile in heavy vegetation or under the boardwalks. Between each predator fly-by there is frantic feeding activity from the flood of WHITE THROATED SPARROWS and the less numerous other Sparrows,

Flickers, Warblers, Thrushes et cetera.

The male B. ORIOLE & B. THRASHER are still here and although I haven't seen a female TOWEE since yesterday, there are at least 4 males here right now.

The following was written about 17:00 hrs on Thursday. It was also kicked back, hence the late post..

Throughout the day the raptors have been very active and the ratio of notable, the number of SHARP SHINNED HAWKS rose to at least 10 at one point.

There were 3 lined up on the patio railing watching for an unwary sparrow. I've seen numerous chases, escapes and kills, including a Sharpie that nearly hit me as it's prey darted behind me for protection. Both a Sharpie and a Merlin have lunched on our patio today.

As evening nears, the main wave of ALCIDS have come ashore but there are 2 very active HARRIERS and 2 RAVENS criss-crossing the island. Any one of those birds is enough to send everyone diving for shelter. With all of them present the rocks rapidly bared and only the most unwary prey is even peeking from cover.

There was a GRAY SEAL pup on the western side of the island yesterday. It seemed uninjured and healthy and with no sign of emaciation.

Today I found her near the same location. She was still partly wet so apparently she had been in the water and returned to the same place for some sunbathing.

Like most pups of that age, she is not alarmed by humans as long as they stay at least 3 meters away. She readily returned to her napping while I sprawled on the rocks and quietly moved around taking a few photographs. She barely even noticed my departure, sending me on my way with a wave of a fore flipper and a huge, distinctly bored yawn.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.com

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