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One last post from Southwick Beach State Park & Lake Ontario.

The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world. Birds, blooms, bugs & more - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
August 2013

These photos of Caspian terns diving were taken a few weeks ago when the terns were more active. Now we only see 1 a day or so. Getting near time for them to move on South, so maybe I'll see them at the Florida coast later this fall.

From the NY Natural Heritage Program website

The first known nesting of Caspian Terns in New York occurred in 1986 and the species is therefore recently new to the state.  ... The maximum number of nests was 1788 in 2005 and has declined to 1376 in 2008 after an outbreak of type E botulism in 2006.

Caspian Terns that breed in the northeast and Great Lakes region begin arriving at their breeding grounds soon after ice break-up, usually in April. Peak nesting occurs late May to mid June, with chicks hatching in July to early August. Adults and young begin to migrate to wintering grounds mid to late August and are at their wintering areas by mid-November.

Plunge on below for more!!

This Wiki entry says how cormorants have stripped all vegetation on the 40 acre island and that there is talk (2012) of a windfarm there. Wonder what the terns think of that? I did read that, like killdeer, these birds prefer open ground with no vegetation for nesting.

NY DEC still does surveys  - video here.

In 2012 they counted over 16,000 ring-billed gull nests and 509 herring gull nests. After a second trip to Little Galloo another day, they have a full count for the year: over 43,000 ring-billed gull nests.

More from NY DEC:

Little Galloo Island is a spectacular colonial waterbird rookery with one of the largest Ring-billed Gull colonies in North America, and New York's only Caspian Tern colony. Double-crested Cormorants, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and Black-crowned Night Herons also nest on the island. Gull Island is also used by nesting colonial waterbirds and contains a stable population of Black-crowned Night-Herons and Herring Gulls.

I find it amusing how these birds do the whole body shiver after coming out of the water. And I guess they are fairly successful on the dives. Often they will not plunge, hovering in the air and waiting to see if the target fish moves on. Yes, no, all the way down, and sometimes pulling out before splashing.

Another big blow with big waves today. (Actually it went on for 3 days.) Gotta love this westerly breeze coming off the water and a great way to cap off our 2 months here on the beach by playing in the whitecaps.

And The Daily Bucket is now open for your thoughts and observations...

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