The Project Puffin research islands have officially closed for the season. Our home base in Bremen, which has only hosted a handful of staff until now, is flooded with interns and volunteers from the various field stations. This is definitely an exciting place to be right now, even if it’s a little cramped and the competition for bathrooms and laundry is fierce. It’s still really nice to see my friends and spend some quality time together before we go our separate ways. Most of the team are staying around until later this week. Today was a special wrap-up meeting on Hog Island (just across the water from base) with the other members of the Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group, affectionately referred to by the acronym pronounced “Gomswig.” Scientists from various stations as far south as Cape Cod and as far north as Nova Scotia joined us for a presentation of data from the 2014 season. Tales abounded of chick production rates, encounters with predators, and observations about food and foraging. We were relieved to discover that this was an almost universally successful season, with many birds recovering from recent slumps in breeding success. Notably, my “own” island broke one of its records this year: Eastern Egg Rock recorded 148 nesting pairs of puffins, the highest total since the project began! There were a number of discussions and workshops about in-progress papers, focusing on everything from distance traveled by nesting birds to integrated studies of marine food webs. All in all, it was a great opportunity to come together and celebrate another year while looking towards the future. Soon many of my coworkers will be departing for school, work, or parts unknown, leaving me to finish the tour boat season and run the visitor center. Until then, we have food, drink, and merriment to enjoy, as well as a special staff boat trip to Eastern Egg, where I get to show them what I’ve been up to all summer. Stay tuned for more updates!
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