First, I would like to take a moment to thank a couple of folks who were on Appledore conducting banded gull resights during the week of Jul 31 – Aug 7. Bill Clark has been volunteering for the gull project since he came to us as an Earthwatch volunteer in 2005. Bill has since spent every summer helping to band new birds and resight previously-banded birds. He has contributed thousands of data points and has been the heart and soul of the project through the years.
Allie Nadler, an undergraduate student at Drew University, worked with Bill to record observations of banded gulls during the week, and had this to say about her time at the Shoals Marine Lab:
The ability for an undergrad to be able to learn first hand about field research is a blessing but also the island brings so many people from different walks of life together who all have this commonality of loving science in some form or fashion. In one day you can strike up a conversation about the habits of the seals on Duck Island, the potential the waves have for generating electricity and the beauty and tragedy that is life in the gull colony expressed through the slightly altered soundtrack of Les Miserables.
Bill and Allie spent the week doing surveys for banded gulls over the entire island. They also conducted “roof top surveys” each evening, which entail walking the same route around campus and writing down any bands of birds that are roosting atop the buildings. These roof top surveys can sometimes yield resights of juvenile birds that are prospecting for potential nest sites in future seasons. These prospectors often appear later in the breeding season and roost in the intertidal and on buildings where they are out of the way of territorial adults. Allie and Bill also did some surveys of nests that were being monitoring by the summer field ornithology interns, Michelle Moglia and Taylor Heaton both undergraduate students at Cornell University. Michelle and Taylor kept wonderful blogs describing their summer adventures. Taylor’s is here and Michelle’s here. I particularly enjoyed Taylor’s description of gull chick banding week.
Thanks to Bill and Allie for their hard work!
Onto a resight report. Nathan Gatto, co-owner (with his fiance, Sarah Clark) of Wright’s Backyard Birding Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina reported an Appledore gull in North Carolina. Nathan and Sarah were birding Hatteras, NC in December of 2012 when they observed Great Black-backed Gull, 6V5.
6V5 was banded as a chick in July of 2012 and this is the first time the bird has been observed since it was banded. We have only two other resights of Appledore gulls in North Carolina, both of which were Great Black-backed Gulls. Nathan says that he and Sarah enjoy looking for rare and unusual birds all over the Atlantic coast. In fact, he is trying to figure out a plan to see the Bar-tailed Godwit in VA right now.
Thanks to Nathan and Sarah for this great resight!