Just a short little note before I hit the hay. Woke up at five fifteen this morning to Pete serenading “It’s PIGU time!” into me and Katrina’s room. As pleasant as a wake up call that was, it was still pretty early and a good night snooze is in order. (Although I got to squeeze a PIGU and that made it totally worth the rise. Early bird catches the early birds :). Anyway.
Farallon Island might as well be renamed Easter Island at this time of the year. Every six feet or so you walk, there’s an angry gull incubating eggs. As you walk by, they jump off their perfectly round nest mounds of dried vegetation and reveal their eggs. So every where you turn it’s eggs eggs EGGS! Right now there’s 1-2 eggs per nest, but they lay a total of three usually. Oh boy, I can only imagine the mother of all Easter Egg hunts (well, maybe not Easter since this only happens around May) being held when children were running amok on this island decades ago, and “Conservation” was spared nary a thought.
Of course when the gull leaps off its nest, you’re blasted by the shrill “AUUUW AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUW AUUUUUWWW” cries from the incensed bird, which translates to “Get the #$%^ away from my nest” in birdspeak. Which is fine if it was one bird yes? But remember. This is every few feet.
One of my tasks on the island is to monitor banded breeding gulls on an island plot. Plot K, for Kool (I jest. Although really it should be renamed plot FW for feckin’ windy.) So three times a week, I make a little beeline around the area and looking to see how the banded gulls in the plot are coming along with their breeding. I make note of nest building, egg laying, hatching and eventually band chicks. I got my first egg laid in my plot today!
Upon egg discovery, I have to mark it with a six big “1”s all over the egg to note it’s laying order. Since gulls lay three eggs, it’s nice to know which ones was laid first since this is a factor in chick survival. Little runty number 3 usually does’t make it. Puts sibling rivalry and child favouritism into a whole new light, no?
The egg comes in lovely speckled green-brown hues and is pleasantly warm to the touch. It fits snugly in my palm while I scrawl its occupants’s ominous fate determining number all over. Quite an interesting affair, especially when your ears are aching from the constant din and when you look up, you’re staring straight into the neverending darkness that is a WEGU’s formidable gullet.