Coffee of the Day: Ethiopian Harrar
Bird of the Day: least tern
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: feathers (OK, so that's not so weird because the gulls are molting)
Invisibird Status: Refuge beach: 25 pairs, 56 chicks, 19 fledgelings. Sandy Point: 4 pairs, 1 nest, 10 chicks. Town beach: 2 pairs, 1 nest, 1 chick. Number actually seen by me: zero.
|They All Took Off At Once|
The least terns were really active, making lots of noise and dive bombing anything that came near the colony. When biological staff stopped by on her way out to do the beach survey, I mentioned that the leasties were particularly excitable today. She replied "I've got my poop hat." A visitor overheard this and later asked "Did she say poop hat?" I was explaining how least terns use poop as a defense mechanism to some visitors and all became clear to the woman who asked that.
I heard a helicopter nearby and looked up to see a Mass. State Police helicopter flying really low over the water just offshore. Just as the thought "the least terns are going to hate this" formed in my brain, a mob of them flew toward the chopper making a lot of noise. The chopper then came in much lower and over the beach -- right over the least tern colony. Basically, it buzzed the least tern colony. This did not go over well with the terns. I could not tell biological staff's reaction from that distance.
|State Police Helicopter|
I'm not sure what the staties were trying to accomplish by spooking the least terns, and, by the way, the piping plovers. These are birds that mistake kites for avian predators. I could understand flying that low over the nesting areas if there was a problem, like someone missing or drowning or committing crimes... Disrupting the birds for a routine patrol seemed odd, but the state police have been stepping up their helicopter patrolling all over the Merrimack Valley lately. No clue why.
|Low Flying Plane|
There was a low flying general aviation craft offshore, but it did not buzz the beach. Maybe it was Newbury Fly Low Day or something.