Eric Masterson Inteviews on New Hampshire Public Radio

Just in time for Star’s September birding weekend, we bring you an interview with Eric Masterson, a land specialist for the Harris Center for Conservation Education. He also happens to be a birding expert (author of Birdwatching in New Hampshire) and leader of the Island’s birding weekends.

A snowy owl.

A snowy owl.

This interview about a recent influx of snowy owls to the state aired on March 20 in the “Word of Mouth” section of New Hampshire Public Radio. But island naturalist, Arthur Eves, recently witnessed a snowy owl at work on Star this past week during LOAS I. An unusual time of year to see one for sure!

We’ve also seen evidence of their work during the winter, with a Red-breasted Merganser left on the tennis court and eaten over the past year undoubtedly by a snowy.

Hope you listen in and enjoy. Find the story here.

When you’ve finished listening, remember to sign up to see Eric this September 19-21 on the Island as well. Sign up for the conference here. You can also find out more about Eric’s conferences this past May by reading his blog  or talking to folks in Natural History Week when he served as the theme speaker.

Find the link for Star’s conference page here:
Find the interview link on NHPR here:
Find Eric Masterson’s Web site here:


Star Island seal pup checks out marine lab volunteer staff

Caught by iPhone! Check out the video below, and be sure to watch the upper-center portion of the film in its first five seconds.

Just before this, our volunteer said, the pup stuck his head up near the rock he was sitting on in Star Island’s quarrya spot just past the breakwaters but before East Rockand “calmly regarded him before deciding to swim back out to sea.”

Cool video! But not surprising since grey, harbor and ringed seals are often spotted swimming past the summerhouse in the evening. In fact, a group of 12 where spotted just the night before!

But we do have one last video for you, taken by our same intrepid volunteer. This time he captures an angry Spotted Sandpiper trying lead him astray from his nest near the summerhouse. Cheers and be sure you turn up the sound!



Why do gulls stare at their feet?

Ever wanted to know more about the research taking place over at the Shoal Marine Laboratory? Well, some of the work being done investigates the lives of animals which are ubiquitous on the Isles of Shoals.

Keith Mueller, who also runs the site New England Coastal Birds, reports that gulls he has tagged in Rhode Island actually travel quite widely. As he writes, one young bird named V57:

has traveled a long distance for its short life:  it was banded as a chick in July 2012 and was seen at Brownsville Municipal Landfill in Texas in February 2013, then in at Reeds Beach in Burleigh, NJ in May 2013, and now at Rosenhayn [near Deerfield, NJ].

Work studying the gulls at Appledore Island has taken place since 2004 when a bird banding project began. Lead by Dr. Julie Ellis, from Tufts University, it has an important aim. As she writes in her description of the research:

The overarching, long-term goals of this study are to understand the interactions between Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, their population trends in the Gulf of Maine, and the effects that these two species have on coastal marine communities of New England.

You can follow the day-to-day findings and lives of the gulls on a blog about her research with the birds: The Gulls of Appledore Island. The bird bands look like this:

Bird Y30 in flight, showing off his band (Photo courtesy of Keith Mueller).

Bird Y30 in flight, showing off his band (Photo courtesy of Keith Mueller).

Continue reading

Pelican sighted near Isles of Shoals…well, sort of….

Pelican sighted in Northern Maine (Photo courtesy of Paul Cyr Photography).

Some of you may be wondering, even after all these years, how our staff got its name. Yes, yes, we all know the story of the Princeton college kids sailing the boat named The Pelican.

But now they’re back! Or sighted at least in the North Atlantic. As Paul Cyr writes on his site,

No, this isn’t Florida, it’s Northern Maine! This American White Pelican was spotted at Long Lake late last week!

Find out more about Paul Cyr’s work here.
Site URL (in case the above link doesn’t work) is:

More of Eric Masterson’s birds of the Isles of Shoals

Short-billed Dowitcher, Star Island, May 10, NH May (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Short-billed Dowitcher, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

You may recall that a month ago we were lucky enough to have New Hampshire birder and photographer Eric Masterson share some of the photos he took this May on Star Island of birds migrating through the Isles of Shoals. (You can look back at that post here.) Recently, he even visited Star Island during our ISHRA and NHC conferences to talk about his book , give us some of his insights into birding and display some beautiful photos.

We’re lucky enough to bring you a second installment of some of the photos he took this past May – with a whole bunch of new visitors. We hope you enjoy. And, remember, when you’re out on the Island to log the birds you see in our eBird account at the Rutledge Marine Laboratory.

Bobolink, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Bobolink, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Sedge Wren, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Sedge Wren, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Continue reading