Page 50 - Regarding the Birds of the Bird Islands
ISSUE : Issue 26
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/8/1
Razor-billed Auks (Bayley: "The hundreds of them make strik? ing figures with their jet black plumage, white wing patches and scarlet feet." How does that compare with your count?) Dave: We're averaging in the 70s for both is? lands --but we could easily miss them. They're the ones that take off as soon as you start coming near. I wouldn't think those numbers have changed that much. (Bay- ley: "They remain on this coast in consid? erable numbers during the winter, being then in a garb of black or grey and white. The sijmmer plumage of black with white patches is assjmed in April and they re? pair to the islands to nest in May.") MURRE. (Bayley: "Probably not more than a dozen pairs are nesting here now, though they are said to have been very plentiful in former years.") Dave: Actually, I didn't see a Murre. But the Murres were quite hard hit in the oil spill last year. I counted birds all along the coast, and Murres and Dovekies made up 90% of the birds killed in the oil spill. I counted 1300 dead birds and about 557o of them were Murres. They are very common up north:, they rtest in the Arctic in the millions. They are a common ocean bird here; in the wintertime, this is their south, out at sea here. That's why they got hit in the oil spill--the Kurdistan. RAZOR-BILLED AUK. (Bayley: "Rows of Razor- billed Auks can be seen on the permanent cliff ledges, usually about halfway up the cliffs and mostly segregated towards the centre of each island's" high north side cliff, though some pairs also nest on the southeast side of Ciboux Island.") Dave: I wouldn't say rows. They are easy to spot. Their breasts just seem a totally differ? ent white than the Puffins. They gleam out at you. (He says "there are probably 300 pairs nesting here.") Dave: Today's count was 39 on Hertford and 30 on Ciboux. And that compares almost exactly with what we saw last year on both those islands. You often see two at a hole. And a thing to remember--we saw a lot of holes but unless we saw a bird, we didn't put anything down. Bayley did observations over a number of days--would see them coming and going-- whereas we just take our trip around each island. Dan: We want to estimate, we want a relative index--with a method we can consistently do. (Bayley: "They nest on the ledges...and in small caves... Locally called 'Tinkers' and 'Turres.' Come to the island in early May and leave toward the last part of August.") (Bayley says the KITTIWAKE is a common oc? currence , but only in October and Novem? ber.) Dave: Last year we didn't see any Kitti- wakes, but the Bird Society saw them la? ter. And this year we saw a total of 126 Kittiwakes • just on Ciboux. There weren't any on Hertford. I think they are estab? lishing a colony. It's definitely their type of habitat. They like cliffsides. Cliff faces where there are little rocks coming out where they can set a nest • they set just a little twig sort of nest--it looks like it's almost over the water-- just on any tiny ledge, they'll have a nest sprung there. And they're very colon? ial; their nests are very close together. It's a little surprising to find those numbers that suddenly, since they are that rare in this area. Dan Banks and Dave Harris IN CHETICAMP STEDMAN'S DEPARTMENT-STORE Open Monday through Thursday 9-5 Friday 9-9 and Saturday '5 SUBARU 4-Wheel Drive HONDA. CIVHC AUTHORIZED SALES AND SERVICE KEN YAZER MOTORS LIMITED SYDNEY 539*1500 NOVA SCOTIA Marine D. GOLDMAN & SOWS LTD. 'Tllfc; HOME OK KINK SEAFOOD" • Gallant Street Glace Bay • Terminal Bldg. Sydney Airport (50)
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