Today I spent my day on Appledore Island to get a feel for the island as I will be TA'ing a class there this August.
Fortunately, I had lots of time to bird and check out the island. There were many highlights including helping to attempt to catch and band the female Herring Gull which has mated with the male Lesser Black-backed Gull on the island. Unfortunately, she never made it into the cage so I was not able to witness this happening.
Female Herring Gull inspecting the nest and the cage trap
This is the 4th year that this Lesser Black-backed has come to Appledore to breed. He was banded along with his mate in 2008 and they both returned in 2009. They raised two chicks one of which has been seen both in Provincetown, MA and in Brevard County, Florida. This year he is with a new mate - hence the need to band her. Dr. Julie Ellis heads up the gull research on the island and has been banding birds on the island since 2004 (with the help of students and volunteers). She also keeps a blog where you can follow the Lesser Black-backed Gull and other gulls: http://gullsofappledore.wordpress.com/
Male Lesser Black-backed Gull: first documented bird to breed in the US
For those of you who don't know... Gull babies are extraordinarily cute. The island is currently overflowing with them. This means their parents are in a very vicious stage! Here's a photo of Great Black-backed Gull Chicks:
I have a huge passion for Baseball, Birds, and Botany (actually anything that begins with B). I recently graduated with my M.S. in Plant Biology. I currently teach freshman biology labs and also work for a non-profit in New Hampshire.
“Personally, I believe that there is a divine spark in us that binds us to the rest of creation, not merely as fellow creatures but as caretakers, with an earthly responsibility like the one we imagined for God. I’m not saying you can’t be a conservationist without this feeling — it’s just harder for me to understand what we owe the ivory-billed woodpecker without it.” - Jonathan Rosen
"Getting out into the field is not a means to the end, it itself is the end" - Jonathan Rosen
"In order to change the world we must first change our consciousness of it" - Jonathan Rosen