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.
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: http://starisland.org/conferences/2014-conference-listing/birding-weekend-september/
Find the interview link on NHPR here: http://nhpr.org/post/snowy-owls-granite-state-and-beyond
Find Eric Masterson’s Web site here: http://ericmasterson.com/
By Linnea Huston
This week in the lab, we got to see two of our Atlantic rock crabs (Cancer irroratus) in the process of mating. To some, it looked like they were fighting, or like one was eating the other alive. In fact, they were in the “doubler” position, which looks as though the two are hugging each other.
In the pictures, the male crab is the larger of the two and the female is the smaller. Female crabs will molt right before or during mating, and this one did just that—an object came away from the pair that looked like a second crab. We realized that that was her shedded outer shell and that she
was now darker in color (Which you can see
in the second picture).
These two were in the doubler position only a few hours, but mating crabs can stay like this from five hours to three days. The female will store the male’s sperm under her abdomen, which will later attach to her eggs. She’ll then carry the fertilized eggs under her abdomen for about two weeks until they hatch.
Always something interesting to see in the Marine Lab!
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 quarry—a spot just past the breakwaters but before East Rock—and “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!
A beautiful shot of the storm’s surreal clouds as it rolled by the West end of the Oceanic porch.
After weeks of hot and dry weather, the grass on Star had begun to turn brown and most of us had begun our routine of swimming at the dock three times a day. With the Island packed with 300 guests from All Star 1, the stage was set for a lively and exciting thunderstorm that turned into a night of much needed rain.
The cloud formations were amazing and remarked on by more than one person even though the storm forced the end of the Pelican-Conferee softball game in the fifth inning. Below we’ve posted a few of the best shots which captured this idyllic Island moment.
A panorama of the storm rolling by as Pelicans and conferees gathered to watch.
The storm’s approach from behind the Summer House. Bolts of lightning could be seen in the distance (although we couldn’t catch one).
Some of the amazing cloud formations (even though this storm preceded Tropical Storm Arthur by a day).
We’ve had a busy June!!! The lab has been re-plumbed to better oxygenate our fish and invertebrate companions, we’ve had a volunteer diver visit us twice, and our head Naturalist Arthur Eves arrived along with 300 eager All Star 1 conferees this week.
In the past few weeks, we also perfected our end-of-the-pier trap and I wanted to take a moment to share some of our most recent visitors with you. Be sure to look for them during your time on Star this summer too!
The Cunner (as it’s known commonly in New England) or Bergall
On it’s first night (unfortunately during our first Pel Show for ARTS…making this Pelican late for Pel Chorus), the trap caught 14 Cunner. Many of these fish live around Star’s pier and docks, preferring to hide amongst the rocks and algae. STAR FISHERMAN’S TIP: If you’re short on bait, these fish are known to bite on bacon saved from the dining hall.