Great Gull Island - how I met the "Jane Goodall" of Terns!
(can you spot the egg in this photo?)
I had brought my sketch book that day, but there was SO MUCH activity that I felt I needed to simply observe everything that was going on, take a few pictures, and commit to memory every thing I saw. I watched as terns soared over head just over the ocean and then back to land each with a little fish hanging out of its beak....over and over again! I watched in awe at a territorial fight between three birds on the ground - one of them a youngster wanting a fish from either of the elder two. But now was his time to get tough and go fish. On the bench near the kitchen/work center was a dead tern that someone had found and brought over for observation- beautiful and sad. Though I don't know what had brought about his demise, I was grateful for the respect shown him, and the chance to have a close look at him.
I highly recommend a view of a 2012 New York Times article (and video) for a better idea of the importance of this place: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/nyregion/helen-hays-revives-great-gull-islands-tern-population.html?_r=0
Ms. Hays and her teams of volunteers and researchers have been quite successful in their long efforts. This island now holds one of the worlds largest colonies for these two species of terns (common and roseate)!
If you'd like to know more about my "New England Letters" take a visit to my Etsy shop:
I offer a fun subscription to real mail - a painted letter each month of some place in New England that I've visited during that time. I've been painting and sending these out for a year now! I wasn't sure I'd last a whole year - but I had 4 subscribers so I knew I had to complete their subscription! I love it - I've grown to look forward to finding interesting stories and places each month to share with my readers. It also makes a wonderful gift for "arm-chair travelers", or those who miss New England and don't live in the region any more. If you know someone that might be interested, please share this email (blog post) with them! Thanks!!