A partnership between Oregon State University, Real Time Research, and the USGS - Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Columbia Plateau

WEEKLY Update for 8/22 – 8/28/2016

8/28/16 ›

This completes our regular weekly reporting of field research activities in the Columbia Plateau region for 2016

8/22 – 8/28/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Goose Island and nearby rocky islets in Potholes Reservoir were successful in preventing Caspian terns from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/22 – 8/28/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir in the mid-Columbia River were successful in preventing Caspian terns and gulls from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/22 – 8/28/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands have attempted to nest this season; Caspian terns continued to nest at two different sites this week: (1) only two tern chicks that were either fledged or about to fledge were counted in the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) only four tern chicks that were either fledged or about to fledge were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; all nesting attempts by Caspian terns at Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, and a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir failed in 2016

WEEKLY Update for 8/15 – 8/21/2016

8/15 – 8/21/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Goose Island and nearby rocky islets in Potholes Reservoir were successful in preventing Caspian terns from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/15 – 8/21/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir in the mid-Columbia River were successful in preventing Caspian terns and gulls from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/15 – 8/21/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands have attempted to nest this season; Caspian terns continued to nest at two different sites this week: (1) 34 adult Caspian terns and 19 tern chicks were counted in the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 9 adult Caspian terns and 9 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; all nesting attempts by Caspian terns at Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, and a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir failed in 2016

WEEKLY Update for 8/8 – 8/14/2016

8/8 – 8/14/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Goose Island and nearby rocky islets in Potholes Reservoir were successful in preventing Caspian terns from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/8 – 8/14/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir in the mid-Columbia River were successful in preventing Caspian terns and gulls from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/8 – 8/14/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands have attempted to nest this season; Caspian terns continued to nest at two different sites this week: (1) 48 adult Caspian terns and 38 tern chicks were counted in the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 18 adult Caspian terns and 12 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; all nesting attempts by Caspian terns at Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, and a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir failed in 2016

WEEKLY Update for 8/1 – 8/7/2016

8/1 – 8/7/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Goose Island and nearby rocky islets in Potholes Reservoir were successful in preventing Caspian terns from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/1 – 8/7/16 ›

Passive and active Caspian tern nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir in the mid-Columbia River were successful in preventing Caspian terns and gulls from nesting on the island in 2016; monitoring of this site during the 2016 breeding season is completed

8/1 – 8/7/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands have attempted to nest this season; Caspian terns continued to nest at two different sites this week: (1) 145 adult Caspian terns, 2 attended tern nests, and 97 tern chicks were counted in the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 35 adult Caspian terns and 15 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; all nesting attempts by Caspian terns at Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, and a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir failed in 2016

WEEKLY Update for 7/25 – 7/31/2016

7/25 – 7/31/16 ›

High counts of gulls on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir declined to about 600 this week; counts of loafing Caspian terns on or near Goose Island were variable this week, with high counts ranging from 77 to 110 individuals, all on newly exposed mudflats and cobble areas around the island; no Caspian tern eggs or new nest scrapes were found on Goose Island this week and there are currently no active Caspian tern nests on Goose Island or nearby rocky islets; this will be the last weekly update for Goose Island during the 2016 field season

7/25 – 7/31/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River were successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

7/25 – 7/31/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; Caspian terns were confirmed nesting at two different sites this week: (1) 203 adult Caspian terns, 9 attended tern nests, and 113 tern chicks were counted at the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 41 adult Caspian terns, 1 attended tern nest, and 19 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

WEEKLY Update for 7/18 – 7/24/2016

7/18 – 7/24/16 ›

High counts of gulls on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir declined to about 2,550 gulls (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) as many young gulls fledge and leave the colony; counts of loafing Caspian terns on or near Goose Island were variable this week, with high counts ranging from 90 to 145 individuals, all on newly exposed mudflats and cobble areas around the island; no Caspian tern eggs or new nest scrapes were found on Goose Island this week and there are currently no active Caspian tern nests on Goose Island or nearby rocky islets

7/18 – 7/24/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

7/18 – 7/24/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; Caspian terns were confirmed nesting at two different sites this week: (1) 214 adult Caspian terns, 31 attended tern nests, and 120 tern chicks were counted at the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 54 adult Caspian terns, 7 attended tern nests, and 23 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

7/18/16 ›

Two willow stems with apparent beaver damage were discovered on Crescent Island this week. A small hole in the nearby beaver fence along the cove area was found and patched.

WEEKLY Update for 7/11 – 7/17/2016

7/11 – 7/17/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 3,900 gulls and about 620 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; counts of loafing Caspian terns on or near Goose Island were variable this week, with high counts ranging from 95 to 157 individuals, slightly higher than the previous week; no Caspian tern eggs were found on Goose Island this week and there are currently no active Caspian tern nests on Goose Island or nearby rocky islets

7/11 – 7/17/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

7/11 – 7/17/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; Caspian terns were confirmed nesting at two different sites this week: (1) 282 adult Caspian terns, 94 attended tern nests, and 150 tern chicks were counted at the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 56 adult Caspian terns, 11 attended tern nests, and 28 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

WEEKLY Update for 7/4 – 7/10/2016

7/4 – 7/10/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 4,650 gulls and about 1,110 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; counts of loafing Caspian terns on or near Goose Island (e.g., East Rocks) were variable this week, with high counts ranging from 56 to 148 individuals; no Caspian tern eggs were found on Goose Island this week and there are currently no active Caspian tern nests on Goose Island or nearby rocky islets

7/4 – 7/10/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

7/4 – 7/10/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; Caspian terns were confirmed nesting at two different sites this week: (1) ca. 420 adult Caspian terns, ca. 170 attended tern nests, and ca. 180 tern chicks were counted at the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) 55 adult Caspian terns, 17 attended tern nests, and 20 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

7/10/16 ›

First Caspian tern fledgling observed on the Lenore Lake tern colony

WEEKLY Update for 6/27 – 7/3/2016

6/27 – 7/3/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 6,150 gulls and about 1,450 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; counts of Caspian terns on or near Goose Island (e.g., East Rocks) remain somewhat higher this week (high count of 77 individuals) following the failure of the incipient Caspian tern colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir; no Caspian tern eggs were found on Goose Island this week and there are currently no active Caspian tern nests on Goose Island or nearby rocky islets

6/27 – 7/3/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

6/27 – 7/3/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; Caspian terns were confirmed nesting at two different sites this week: (1) ca. 545 adult Caspian terns, ca. 220 attended tern nests, and ca. 200 tern chicks were counted at the Blalock Islands this week, and (2) ca. 70 adult Caspian terns, ca. 30 attended tern nests, and 17 tern chicks were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

6/30/16 ›

An incipient Caspian tern breeding colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir that was abandoned on 5-6 June was scanned for smolt PIT tags

6/27 – 6/28/15 › 

The third and final aerial survey this season of the mid-Columbia River, lower Snake River, and much of the Columbia Plateau region was completed to check the status of known, incipient, and potential Caspian tern breeding colony sites; Caspian tern nesting activity was detected only on two different islands in the Blalock Islands complex on the mid-Columbia River and on an unnamed island in Lenore Lake; no other new or active Caspian tern breeding colonies were found during the aerial survey

WEEKLY Update for 6/20 – 6/26/2016

6/20 – 6/26/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 5,800 gulls and about 1,580 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; counts of Caspian terns on or near Goose Island (e.g., East Rocks) remain somewhat higher (high count of 83 individuals) following the failure of the incipient Caspian tern colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir; two Caspian tern eggs were found on Goose Island this week; one tern egg was collected under permit and the other egg was depredated by a gull; the water level in Potholes Reservoir continues to drop, leaving areas around the periphery of Goose Island exposed and available for tern roosting and nesting

6/20 – 6/26/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

6/20 – 6/26/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; Caspian terns were confirmed nesting at two different sites this week: (1) ca. 510 Caspian terns and ca. 275 attended tern nests (with eggs ​or young chicks) were counted at the Blalock Islands this week (slightly lower than the high counts of 620 terns and 310 attended tern nests the previous week), and (2) 48 Caspian terns and 21 attended tern nests (with eggs or young chicks) were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week (similar to the high counts of 41 terns and 18 attended tern nests the previous week); Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

WEEKLY Update for 6/13 – 6/19/2016

6/13 – 6/19/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 5,500 gulls and about 1,770 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; counts of Caspian terns on or near Goose Island (e.g., East Rocks) remain higher (high count of 77 individuals) following the failure of the incipient Caspian tern colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir; one Caspian tern egg was found in a nest scrape on 17 June, outside the passive nest dissuasion on the cliff edge along the northwest slope of Goose Island; this egg was depredated by a gull and the area was subsequently covered in temporary passive nest dissuasion materials to prevent additional tern nesting attempts in this area

6/13 – 6/19/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island this season

6/13 – 6/19/16 ›

Continued ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; nesting Caspian terns were detected at two different sites this week: (1) ca. 620 Caspian terns and more than 310 attended tern nests (with eggs ​or young chicks) were counted at the Blalock Islands this week (slightly lower than the high counts of 670 terns and 325 attended tern nests the previous week), and (2) 41 Caspian terns and 18 attended tern nests (with eggs or young chicks) were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week (similar to the high counts of 60 terns and 20 attended tern nests the previous week); Caspian terns are no longer nesting on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

WEEKLY Update for 6/6 – 6/12/2016

6/6 – 6/12/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 6,800 gulls and about 2,300 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; unusually high number of fresh gull carcasses (22) with no apparent injuries observed on Goose Island, consistent with a disease outbreak (authorities have been notified); counts of Caspian terns on or near Goose Island (e.g., East Rocks) increased dramatically (more than 100 individuals) following the failure of the incipient Caspian tern colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir; all of the Caspian terns observed were loafing outside the passive nest dissuasion materials on the main island at the water’s edge or on the east rocks; no nest scraping or pre-nesting behaviors by Caspian terns have been observed on or near Goose Island this week; active dissuasion efforts increased this week to prevent Caspian terns from nesting on or near Goose Island

6/6 – 6/12/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island; on 9 June, up to 500 gulls were observed rafting in the water surrounding Crescent Island, perhaps associated with inundation of gull nests near the water’s edge on Badger Island due to high pool elevations on 8 June; small numbers of Caspian terns (1-3 individuals) were seen flying over Crescent Island daily, but no terns have been observed landing anywhere on the island so far this breeding season 

6/6 – 6/12/16 ›

Continuing ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; nesting Caspian terns were detected at two different sites this week: (1) ca. 670 Caspian terns and more than 325 attended tern nests (with eggs ​or young chicks) were counted at the Blalock Islands this week (similar to the high counts of 680 terns and 300 attended tern nests the previous week), and (2) 60 Caspian terns and 20 attended tern nests (with eggs or young chicks) were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer attempting to nest on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, Harper Island in Sprague Lake, or the small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

6/6 – 6/12/16 ›

42 steelhead smolts and 0 yearling Chinook salmon smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia populations; in total, 6,764 steelhead smolts and 5,333 yearling Chinook salmon smolts were PIT-tagged and released at Rock Island Dam during the 2016 out-migration; this concludes our PIT-tagging of steelhead and yearling Chinook salmon at Rock Island Dam during the 2016 out-migration

6/6 – 6/12/16 ›

An incipient Caspian tern breeding colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir that was abandoned the previous week (on 5-6 June, presumably due to mink predation) was not recolonized this week; no adult Caspian terns were observed on the island during daily visits this past week, and by week’s end, all tern eggs were gone from the island, presumably depredated by nest predators

6/6/16 ›

First Caspian tern chick observed on the Lenore Lake tern colony

WEEKLY Update for 5/30 – 6/5/2016

5/30 – 6/5/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 6,750 gulls and about 3,150 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; counts of Caspian terns on or near Goose Island (e.g., East Rocks) increased dramatically (more than 100 individuals) following the failure of the incipient Caspian tern colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir (see below)

5/30 – 6/5/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island; up to 10 gulls were observed hovering over Crescent Island this week, but active hazing was successful in preventing gulls from landing on the island; no Caspian terns were seen flying over or landing on Crescent Island this week

5/30 – 6/5/16 ›

Continuing ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; nesting Caspian terns were detected at three different sites this week: (1) ca. 680 Caspian terns and more than 300 attended tern nests (with eggs ​or young chicks) were counted at the Blalock Islands this week (down from 870 terns and 500 attended tern nests the previous week); (2) up to 200 Caspian terns and 80 attended tern nests (most with eggs and a few with chicks) were counted on a small, low-lying island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir this week (all nesting attempts by terns failed by the end of the week, apparently due to mink predation); (3) 49 Caspian terns and 17 attended tern nests (most with eggs) were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer attempting to nest on Twinning Island in Banks Lake or Harper Island in Sprague Lake

5/30 – 6/5/16 ›

11 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 104 steelhead smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

6/4 – 6/5/16 ›

Incipient Caspian tern colony on a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir was abandoned; during a visit to the island, 170 Caspian tern nest scrapes were counted, and most of the unattended nests contained 1-3 tern eggs; some tern eggs were pipped, but there were no signs of tern chicks on the island; fresh mink tracks and 4 carcasses of adult terns with signs of mink predation were observed on the island

6/1/16 ›

First Caspian tern chicks (3) observed on the incipient Caspian tern colony in northeastern Potholes Reservoir

WEEKLY Update for 5/23 – 5/29/2016

5/23 – 5/29/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 5,750 gulls and about 2,700 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; presence of Caspian terns on Goose Island continues to drop with only 3 terns observed loafing on the island on only one occasion this week; Caspian terns seen flying over Goose Island this week appeared to be commuting to or from the new Caspian tern colony on a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir (see below)

5/23 – 5/29/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by Caspian terns and gulls on the island; up to 40 gulls were observed hovering over Crescent Island this week, but active hazing was successful in preventing gulls from landing on the island; small numbers of Caspian terns (1-2 individuals) were seen flying over Crescent Island daily, but no terns have been observed landing anywhere on the island so far this breeding season 

5/23 – 5/29/16 ›

Continuing ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; nesting Caspian terns were detected at four different locations this week: (1) ca. 870 Caspian terns and more than 500 attended tern nests (with eggs ​or young chicks) were counted at the Blalock Islands this week; (2) up to 145 Caspian terns and 68 attended nests (some with eggs) were counted on a small, low-lying island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir this week; (3) 34 Caspian terns and 16 attended tern nests (with eggs) were counted on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; (4) 5 Caspian terns and 2 attended tern nest were counted on Harper Island in Sprague Lake this week; Caspian terns are no longer attempting to nest on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, with only 4 loafing terns observed at that site this week

5/23 – 5/29/16 ›

190 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 548 steelhead smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

5/26 – 5/27/16 ›

Higher John Day Pool elevations coupled with strong westerly winds caused ca. 50% of the active Caspian tern nests in the Blalock Islands to fail due to inundation; this was the fourth recorded flooding event at the Blalock Islands tern colony in 2016

WEEKLY Update for 5/16 – 5/22/2016

5/16 – 5/22/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 6,000 gulls and about 2,900 attended gull nests (about 65-70% ring-billed gulls and 30-35% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; the number of Caspian terns seen loafing on Goose Island remained low this week (up to 3 terns counted on the island at one time); two Caspian tern eggs were found in a nest scrape on 17 May, just outside the passive nest dissuasion on the cliff edge along the north slope of Goose Island; these 2 eggs were collected (under permit) and the area was covered in passive nest dissuasion to prevent additional tern nesting attempts in this area; almost all Caspian terns seen flying over Goose Island this week were headed in the direction of the new Caspian tern colony on a small island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir (see below)

5/16 – 5/22/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have so far been successful in preventing all nesting and loafing by either Caspian terns or gulls on the island; as many as 90 gulls were observed hovering over Crescent Island this week, but active hazing has been successful in preventing gulls from landing on the island; small numbers of Caspian terns (1-2 individuals) occasionally seen flying over the former colony area on Crescent Island, but no terns have been seen perched anywhere on the island so far this breeding season  

5/16 – 5/22/16 ›

Continuing ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; nesting Caspian terns were detected at five different locations this week: (1) ca. 1,100 Caspian terns and more than 400 attended tern nests (with eggs ​or young chicks) were observed at the Blalock Islands this week; (2) up to 129 Caspian terns and 55 attended nests (with eggs) observed on a small, low-lying island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir this week; (3) 35 Caspian terns and 20 attended tern nests (with eggs) were observed on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; (4) 13 Caspian terns and 6 attended tern nests were observed on Twinning Island in Banks Lake this week; and (5) 4 Caspian terns and 2 attended tern nest were observed on Harper Island in Sprague Lake this week

5/16 – 5/22/16 ›

392 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 1,215 steelhead smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

5/16/16 ›

Aerial photo census to estimate numbers of Caspian terns nesting at colonies on the Blalock Islands in the lower Columbia River, on an unnamed island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir, on Twinning Island in Banks Lake, on Harper Island in Sprague Lake, and on a small unnamed island in Lenore Lake; counts of aerial photography later in the season will allow us to more accurately estimate the number of nesting Caspian terns and the area of nesting habitat occupied by terns at each of these colonies

WEEKLY Update for 5/9 – 5/15/2016

5/9 – 5/15/16 ›

High counts during the week of about 7,100 gulls and about 3,100 attended gull nests (about 70-75% ring-billed gulls; 25-30% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; Caspian terns occasionally seen loafing on small rocky islets near Goose Island and along the shoreline of Goose Island; high count during the week of 5 Caspian terns on or near Goose Island; the number of terns loafing on Goose Island remains low compared to this time last year, perhaps due to an incipient Caspian tern colony forming elsewhere in Potholes Reservoir (see below); no new Caspian tern eggs were discovered on or near Goose Island this week

5/9 – 5/15/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island tern colony in on McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have been successful in preventing nesting and loafing by both Caspian terns and gulls so far this breeding season; as many as 75 gulls observed hovering over Crescent Island this week, but active hazing has been mostly successful in preventing gulls from landing on the island; small numbers of Caspian terns (1-3) occasionally seen flying over the former colony area on Crescent Island, but no terns have been seen perched anywhere on the island so far this breeding season

5/9 – 5/15/16 ›

Continuing ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; ca. 1,100 Caspian terns and nearly 340 attended tern nests (most with eggs) were observed on Long, Middle, Southern, and Rock islands in the Blalock Islands complex this week; 85 Caspian terns and 38 attended nests (most with eggs) observed on a small, low-lying island in northeastern Potholes Reservoir this week; 14 Caspian terns and 6 attended tern nests (some with eggs) were observed on a small island in Lenore Lake this week; 4 Caspian terns and 2 attended nests were observed on Twinning Island in Banks Lake this week; 4 Caspian terns and 1 attended tern nest were observed on Harper Island in Sprague Lake this week; 75 Caspian terns were observed loafing on three islands in the Hanford Reach; 38 Caspian terns were observed loafing on Cabin Island; 3 Caspian terns were observed loafing on Foundation Island; 2 Caspian terns were observed loafing at Marsh Unit 1 in Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

5/9 – 5/15/16 ›

782 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 2,348 steelhead smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

5/14/16 ›

First Caspian tern chick observed in the Blalock Islands complex so far this season; the chick hatched on Middle Island

5/14/16 ›

First gull chicks (3) observed on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir this season

WEEKLY Update for 5/2 – 5/8/2016

5/8/16 ›

Higher John Day Pool elevations coupled with strong westerly winds caused ca. 40% of the active Caspian tern nests on the Blalock Islands to fail due to inundation

5/2 – 5/8/16 ›

High counts during the week of ca. 5,700 gulls and ca. 3,400 attended gull nests (about 70-75% ring-billed gulls; 25-30% California gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; Caspian terns occasionally seen loafing on small rocky islets near Goose Island and along the shoreline of Goose Island; high count during the week of 8 Caspian terns on or near Goose Island; terns were mostly absent from Goose Island by the end of the week, coincident with the discovery of an incipient tern colony elsewhere in Potholes Reservoir (see below); no new Caspian tern eggs were discovered on Goose Island this week; to avoid disturbance and incidental take of gull eggs on Goose Island, active hazing of terns and gulls by colony walkthroughs has been discontinued; active hazing of terns is now limited to boat-based hazing and targeted use of a green laser during crepuscular periods

5/2 – 5/8/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island tern colony in on McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have been successful in preventing nesting and loafing by both Caspian terns and gulls so far this breeding season; as many as 100 gulls observed hovering over Crescent Island this week, but active hazing has been mostly successful in preventing gulls from landing on the island; small numbers of Caspian terns (1-4) occasionally seen flying over the former colony area on Crescent Island, but no terns have been seen perched anywhere on the island so far this breeding season

5/2 – 5/8/16 ›

Continuing ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; more than 1,000 Caspian terns and nearly 500 attended tern nests were observed on Long, Middle, Southern, and Rock islands in the Blalock Islands complex; 53 Caspian terns and 7 attended nests observed on a small, low-lying island in northern Potholes Reservoir (see below); 22 Caspian terns and one attended tern nest were observed on a small island in Lenore Lake; 10 Caspian terns and 3 attended nests were observed on Twinning Island in Banks Lake; 24 Caspian terns were observed loafing at the mouth of the Walla Walla River; 8 Caspian terns were observed loafing at Marsh Unit 1 in Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

5/2 – 5/8/16 ›

1,192 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 1,381 steelhead smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

5/7/16 ›

Incipient Caspian tern colony discovered on a small, low-lying island in northern Potholes Reservoir; a total of 53 terns were counted, 7 of which were sitting tight on apparent nests; egg-laying by Caspian terns at the site was subsequently confirmed; use of this site by satellite-tagged terns (i.e., staying on the island overnight) led researchers to survey this site by boat; rising reservoir levels and frequent boat traffic in the area may result in the failure of this incipient colony

WEEKLY Update for 4/25 – 5/1/2016

4/26 – 4/27/16 ›

First aerial survey of the mid-Columbia River, lower Snake River, and much of Columbia Plateau region to check the status of known and potential sites for Caspian tern breeding colonies; more than 1,000 Caspian terns observed on several small, low-lying gravel islands in the Blalock Islands complex, some of which are nesting; loafing Caspian terns were observed on a small spit next to Cabin Island (10), on a small island in Lenore Lake (6), on a low-lying island in northern Potholes Reservoir (10), and at multiple sites in McNary Pool (50 total); no Caspian terns were observed at the former colony sites on Twinning Island in Banks Lake or on Harper Island in Sprague Lake

4/25 – 5/1/16 ›

High counts during the week of ca. 4,800 gulls and ca. 2,050 attended gull nests (about 75% ring-billed gulls) on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; Caspian terns regularly seen loafing on small rocky islets and at the shoreline of Goose Island; high count during the week of terns on or near Goose Island was 22; no new tern eggs were discovered on Goose Island this week; to avoid disturbance and incidental take of gull eggs on Goose Island, active hazing of terns and gulls by colony walkthroughs has been discontinued; active hazing of terns will be limited to boat-based hazing and targeted use of a green laser during crepuscular periods

4/25 – 5/1/16 ›

Passive and active nest dissuasion measures deployed on Crescent Island tern colony in on McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River have been successful in preventing nesting and loafing by both Caspian terns and gulls so far this breeding season; as many as 120 gulls observed hovering over Crescent Island, but active hazing has been mostly successful in preventing gulls from landing on the island; small numbers of terns (less than 10) occasionally seen flying over former colony area on Crescent Island, but no terns have been seen perched anywhere on the island so far this breeding season

4/25– 5/1/16 ›

1,687 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 864 steelhead smolts were PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations 

UPDATE 2/26 – 4/24/2016

4/24/16 ›

First Caspian tern egg laid on or near Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir; egg was discovered on Northwest Rocks, a small rocky islet just offshore of Goose Island; the egg was collected under permit

4/20 – 4/24/16 ›

Ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; high count of 688 Caspian terns and 82 attended tern nests were observed on Long Island and Middle Island in the Blalock Islands complex; 23 Caspian terns were observed loafing on a gravel bar adjacent to Cabin Island near Priest Rapids Dam; 7 Caspian terns were observed loafing on a small island in Lenore Lake; four Caspian terns were observed loafing at Marsh Unit 1 in Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

4/18 – 4/24/16 ›

995 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 233 steelhead smolts PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

4/19/16 ›

First Caspian tern eggs (8) observed on Long Island and Middle Island in the Blalock Islands complex in John Day Reservoir, mid-Columbia River

4/17/16 ›

Island walk-throughs to haze gulls on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir were discontinued due to the presence of gull nests with eggs across the entire island and the potential that active hazing might cause gull nest failure; targeted active dissuasion of Caspian terns using a green laser and a boat to haze terns from the shoreline continues

4/14 – 4/17/16 ›

No gulls observed on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir this week, presumably due to intensified efforts to haze gulls from the island; the abrupt decline in the number of gulls on or near Crescent Island corresponded with an increase in the number of gulls counted on nearby Badger Island this week

4/11 – 4/17/16 ›

86 yearling Chinook salmon smolts and 30 steelhead smolts PIT-tagged at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia River this week to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Upper Columbia River populations

4/11 – 4/16/16 ›

Ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest this season; ca. 230 Caspian terns and 22 attended tern nests were observed on Long Island and Middle Island in the Blalock Islands complex; 76 Caspian terns were observed loafing at the mouth of the Walla Walla River; 43 Caspian terns were observed loafing on the Finley Islands (in McNary Reservoir near Foundation Island); 8 Caspian terns were observed loafing at Marsh Unit 1 in Columbia National Wildlife Refuge; three Caspian terns were observed loafing on a small island at the northern end of Potholes Reservoir; two Caspian terns were observed loafing on a small island in Lenore Lake

4/16/16 ›

First Caspian terns (16) observed loafing on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir

4/13/16 ›

Commencement of Chinook salmon and steelhead smolt PIT-tagging at Rock Island Dam on mid-Columbia River to investigate avian predation on juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon from the threatened Upper Columbia River populations during 2016 nesting season

4/10 – 4/11/16 ›

Large numbers of gulls (500-750) observed loafing on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir; frequency of active hazing increased this week to prevent gulls from nesting; this sudden influx of gulls to Crescent Island corresponded with a reduction in the number of gulls counted on nearby Badger Island, presumably due to a disturbance to gulls loafing and nesting there

4/6 – 4/10/16 ›

Ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest; a high count of 125 Caspian terns was observed loafing on Long, Middle, and Sand islands in the Blalock Islands complex, John Day Reservoir; three Caspian terns observed loafing on Finley Island (on the mid-Columbia River near Foundation Island); no other Caspian terns were observed during this survey

4/9/16 ›

First ring-billed gull egg (1) observed on Goose Island, Potholes Reservoir; active hazing of nesting birds on Goose Island will be restricted to areas without gull nests containing eggs to avoid incidental gull egg loss due to disturbance

4/6/16 ›

Commenced daily active hazing (increased from every other day) of Caspian terns and gulls (mostly California gulls) attempting to nest on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir

4/5/16 ›

First California gulls (4) observed on Crescent Island in McNary Pool

4/2/16 ›

First Caspian tern of the 2016 season seen near Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir

3/30 – 4/1/16 ›

Ground- and boat-based surveys of sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose and Crescent islands might attempt to nest; 19 Caspian terns were observed loafing on Long Island and 19 terns were observed loafing and prospecting for nest sites on Sand Island in the Blalock Islands complex, John Day Reservoir; six Caspian terns observed loafing at the Walla Walla River delta near Crescent Island; no other Caspian terns were observed during this survey

3/31/16 ›

First Caspian tern of the 2016 season sighted near Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir

3/26/16 ›

Limited beaver activity (i.e. consumption of newly planted willows) observed within the new planting area on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir; an opening in the beaver exclusion fence erected around the newly planted willows on Crescent Island was discovered and repaired

3/25/16 ›

Gulls are becoming habituated to active human hazing activities on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir, with most gulls returning to the island within a minute following flushing

3/23/16 ›

Ground- and boat-based surveys initiated at sites in the Columbia Plateau region where Caspian terns displaced from former colonies on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir and on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir, mid-Columbia River might attempt to nest; 2 Caspian terns were observed loafing on Long Island and 14 terns were observed loafing on Sand Island in the Blalock Islands complex, John Day Reservoir; no other Caspian terns were observed during these first surveys

3/23/16 ›

First attended gull nests (47) observed on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir; following active hazing, most gulls returned to the island within a minute following flushing

3/16/16 ›

Commenced daily active hazing of Caspian terns and gulls attempting to nest on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir

3/16/16 ›

Nearly 4,000 gulls observed loafing in areas within and around the passive nest dissuasion materials installed on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir; no nesting behaviors observed

3/14/16 ›

Commenced every other day visits to conduct active hazing of Caspian terns and gulls attempting to nest on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir this season; no terns or gulls observed on the island; ca. 250 gulls observed hovering over or rafting on the water near the island

3/8/16 ›

Limited beaver activity (i.e. consumption of newly planted willows) observed within the new planting area on Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir; an opening in the beaver exclusion fence erected around the newly planted willows on Crescent Island was discovered and repaired

3/1 – 3/15/16 ›

Repaired existing passive nest dissuasion (ropes, stakes, and flagging, and privacy fencing) and installed new passive dissuasion materials on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir and Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir to discourage recolonization of these two former Caspian tern breeding colonies

2/26/16 ›

Project personnel met with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Walla Walla District and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for site visits to Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir and to Crescent Island in McNary Reservoir to plan efforts to prevent Caspian terns from nesting at these two former colony sites

The weekly update of events at various piscivorous waterbird colonies on the Columbia Plateau

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