July 21, 2012
Exhausted Bill Clark reporting from the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island:
It was 8:00 pm. I was exhausted, ready to quit for the day, glad that the team was had been ‘officially released’ and done catching gulls to band for the day. The ‘Champion Appledore Gull Banding Team’ had been going strong since 5:30 am. More than 420 Herring Gulls and Great Black Backed Gulls had been banded during the week and data entry was, as usual, lagging a bit behind. Caleb and Kayla worked hard on the data entry. Dr. David was working on communications, Galina was ‘doing bags’ (Those who have never worked with gulls can’t appreciate the flavorful, odiferous, ‘leftovers’ in a gull bag that must be emptied so the bag can be cleaned, disinfected, washed, rinsed, and dried for use the next day.)
Oh yes, I spoke too soon, for up the path came a smiling Michelle with a bag cradled in her arm looking suspiciously like a gull. This was one of the important chicks that had been followed since hatching and banding it was important to the study. Then Shailee appeared, bag tenderly carried with one of her study chicks. Soon four gulls were in line for banding soon joined by several others. This team just does not quit. Soon Luke, Stephen, Shelly, and all were hard at banding again.
We do not have a final total yet for the season since there are rumors of a few banding expeditions in the final morning to locate and band study chicks that have so far eluded the team. This has been a most outstanding hardworking group. Lead by Justin to achieve beyond the 400 mark with one record day of more than 100 gull chicks banded.