- Year 1 – 2003-04
- Year 2 – 2004-05
- Year 3 – 2005-06
- Year 4 – 2006-07
- Year 5 – 2007-08
- Year 6 – 2008-09
- Year 7 – 2009-10
- Year 8 – 2010-11
- Year 9 – 2011-12
A field camp, aptly named “Camp Rosie”, was established on Quaker Island on April 28, 2004. The camp consisted of 2 sleeping tents, 1 supply tent, 1 compostable toilet surrounded by a “lean-to”, and 1 baby barn (8'x8') for food supplies, electronic equipment, and cooking.
During the initial days of the season, one of the main tasks of field staff was gull management. It was imperative to deter gulls from nesting on the island prior to the arrival of the terns. Predator control techniques included the use of pyrotechnics, constant human presence, and destruction of gull nests and eggs. Because of the techniques employed by project staff, the colony was successfully displaced and no other gull nests were found after May 11th, 2004. However, a handful of gulls continued to loaf around the edge of the island. The use of pyrotechnics ended on May 11th, so that the terns would not be deterred from nesting on the island. A sound system playing tern colony sounds 24-hours a day was activated on May 4th, and nesting shelters were constructed and placed on the point as well.
Terns (Common and Arctic) were first observed circling and landing on Quaker Island on May 12th, 2004, and began exhibiting “nesting behaviour” shortly thereafter. By early July, there were approximately 25 active nests (Common terns) on the island. Although Roseate terns did not nest, 2 pairs were observed circling and landing on the island during the summer.
Field staff regularly monitored population size, distribution, movement, and productivity of terns nesting on Quaker Island. Staff also conducted extensive “predator watches”, which documented predator intrusions into the colony, the length of time of the intrusion, and whether or not the intrusions were successful. A blind was set up overlooking the western point of the island. Daily bird observations were made from the blind (up to 6 hours per day) from May 11th. Daily monitoring also included information on weather, daily bird lists, and general observations of conditions on the island.
The purpose of collecting data on other species was to monitor the effect of predator control on other species nesting on the island. Once the clutches were laid, tern monitoring included collecting data on productivity, diet, and chick growth. In addition to monitoring Quaker Island, project staff also surveyed other tern colonies in Mahone Bay including Westhaver, Crow, Spectacle, and Mash Islands. All of the data that was collected during the spring/summer 2004 is located in the 2004 Quaker Island Data Binder at the BCAF office.
RTRP project staff and Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) staff were extremely pleased with the number of pairs nesting on Quaker Island. However, due to a severe rain and thunderstorm on July 19th, the nests were flooded. The adults abandoned the colony on July 20th. Sadly, all chicks perished. Although, no chicks fledged from Quaker Island, the project should still be considered a success. Considering the fact that this was the first year of establishing a secure stewardship site, and that all of the terns nesting on the island were first time breeders lacking experience, the number of nesting pairs exceeded expectations.
Similar restoration projects that have taken place in the Gulf of Maine have never had as many as 25 nests in the first year. BCAF plans to continue their restoration efforts on Quaker Island next summer with the full support of the island’s owner, Christopher Ondaatje.