April 28th 2010, Año Nuevo Island
The day was blustery and rain came and went as we set about our second check of the Rhinoceros Auklet colony on Año Nuevo Island. Especially exciting was the opportunity to check the new ceramic nest modules that we placed on the island three weeks ago.
I approached the Love Shack module and peeked into the entrance. Last week, after noting tracks in a couple of the new modules, we placed sticks in the entrance that the rhinos would have to knock down to enter the burrow. The sticks were knocked down and there were little tracks in the tunnel.
I cracked open the Love Shack's lid and was confronted with a little rhino face peering at me. After my eyes adjusted and the bird shifted a little I could see the egg it was incubating--the first rhino egg in the new modules!
I recorded the data--Love Shack, #14, B/E
(bird on egg).
The Love Shack--with rhino incubating inside when this picture was taken
While the other modules did not yet have eggs in them, they mostly had clear signs of rhino activity: Two-eyed Gumbi, #72, tracks and nesting material, sticks in ent. knocked down, western gull nest still in second entrance.
The Snail #15
--tracks, nesting material, depression, sticks knocked down in entrance.
Unfortunately we had some technical issues with our burrow cam and couldn't see into the last module without a lid, The Rebar/Lynch Design. The sticks in the entrance were knocked down but there was no other sign of use yet.
All in all, it seems that the rhinos "dig" their new modules. More updates to come in future weeks. The Love Shack will not be checked until expected hatch time in order to reduce disturbance during incubation.
Thanks to all of you who helped design, haul, and install the modules!