This missive is from Archer Lamed, the newest staff member at the Maryland Coastal Bays program. She monitors the nesting coastal waterbirds and is here writing a final update on their coastal birding program. She talks about the Common Tern, visible inhabitants of our coastal bays who wheel and dive for fish in the waters around Ocean City. We like to think of them as the fighter pilots of the bird world! The photos are by Kim Abplanalp. You can read about Archer’s program on the Maryland DNR site.
Update on a Successful Year from Archer Lamed
This will be one of the final updates this year, and what a successful year it was! We ended the season with 155 Common Tern nests, a total of 181 chicks banded, 91 adults banded, and at least 140 fledglings. Plus 1 American Oystercatcher nest with 1 fledgling. That’s at least 140 new Common Terns added to the population, which for a bird with a declining population is a very nice boost!
The raft is slated to be pulled out of the water in about a week to be safely stored for the winter. The last of the tern chicks have successfully fledged and migration is just around the corner. We visited the raft last week and noticed a number of young Common Terns sitting on the side of the raft, but not a single one was banded! Just like how our fledglings that already left the raft show up on Assateague, fledglings from other colonies move around and some have found our raft. We still have some of our terns using the raft as well as the visitors.
The Common Terns from the raft, as from any Common Tern colony along the Atlantic coast, form large flocks at staging sites after they are done nesting, or earlier if their nests weren’t successful. From these staging sites they will take off out over the Atlantic Ocean and make their way down south to the Caribbean and some will continue on to South America. They most likely make several stopovers before reaching their final destination in October and November, where they will spend the winter sunning themselves on a beach before flocking up once again and heading back up north in April. And hopefully back to the raft!
During the course of the breeding season Kim has taken lots of beautiful photographs to help document the activity on the raft. While Common Terns are graceful birds, she ended up with quite a few rather humorous shots, which I thought we should end the season with. A bit like the blooper reel at the end of a good film. Enjoy!
And we end with an endearing photo of siblings.
Have a wonderful fall and winter everyone!
More About Archer Lamed (from the MCBP Facebook page):
“As the Coastal Bird Habitat Coordinator, Archer is responsible for monitoring nesting coastal waterbirds in collaboration with Audubon Mid-Atlantic and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She primarily monitors an artificial nesting platform for Common Terns and Black Skimmers in Chincoteague Bay. She also analyzes data and provides scientific expertise for the monitoring project.
Archer received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County studying the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. She received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin Madison and M.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland College Park.”