Great Duck Island Excursion

Holding a Gull

Holding a Gull

On Monday, July 25th I had the opportunity to zip out to Great Duck Island, visit students and get to know their projects a bit, and haul some much needed batteries out to the station (3000 lbs worth, I might add.  The old ones can no longer hold the charge from the solar arrays on the island).

These ‘outer islands’ are AMAZING – we are so lucky to have them and I wholeheartedly encourage you all to get to know them first hand.

We were lucky to have about the calmest day imaginable. The water was glass.

The Indigo, piloted by our master boat captain Toby Stephenson, headed due south out of Frenchman’s Bay and made it to the boat ramp in about an hour and a quarter (we were pulling a zodiac, otherwise I believe the trip takes about 45 minutes). {‘Tensions disappear along old roads like this.’ – try and guess the novel, more hints will come with future posts}  The approach to the boat ramp can be a bit tricky with any kind of weather or ocean swell, but in today’s calm it’s a piece of cake.

John Anderson orchestrates things out on GDI with the help of Scotty Swann and Matt Drennan (sp? – sorry Matt), two COA alums.  But it’s the students that run the show.  Where else could you have the chance to design, execute, publish and present a graduate-level thesis on bird sea bird biology/behavior/conservation/human ecology??!!  And that’s exactly what the six students are doing out on the island this summer (see attachment ‘gull’).

We also had the chance to go ‘petreling’ (the students tell me they have gotten into the habit of making present progressive tense verbs out of nouns). The island is peppered with burrows of Leach’s storm-petrels.  A relatively thin human arm is the perfect tool for the task. I got to hold one of the little buggers (see the goofy picture of me in the ‘photo’ attachment, below).

Andy G made the trip out with me.  Having just come off a highly successful but strenuous board meeting, it was a great way for both of us to re-charge. I’ve got more to say on the GDI trip (specifically, concerning the bald eagle population), but I’ll save that for a future post.


RV Indigo on the Water
RV Indigo on the Water
Holding a Petrel

Holding a Petrel


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