From among the many mating pairs of stearns which successfully made McIver's Island their summer love nest again in 2014, eight remained within view at my Tuesday evening deadline.
The hottest summer on record may have made a difference. In recent years, the entire colony had been absent from McIvers, parents and young headed thousands of air miles south, by mid-August and earlier most years.
Tuesday night would be silent as the remaining few among the hundreds of tern which came by McIvers Island settled quietly for rest and long journeys ahead. Some among them fly 6,000 kilometres and more in opposite directions.
McIvers Island, which has also in the town's history been known as Porter’s Island, Park’s Island and, more recently, Dave White’s Island, is a rocky, turf-covered islet of about two hectares. Its craggy face wilfully exposed to prevailing westerly winds, a zephyr isle of local and regional significance, a rock of salvation for a considered premier tern colony of Atlantic Canada.
Returning every year around Mother's Day, the stearns are a fixture of the long-settled fishing and farming hamlet four centuries on in newer world orders. The Town of McIvers (population 571), gratefully recognizes its tern and their coastal islet acreage among its natural, historical and cultural ties. The town pin pays homage to the islet and its inhabitants.
Despite the dryness of summer 2014, it seems nature has held its own well this year, at least in our likings. Lots of birds, mostly land birds and acrobatic swallows, nonetheless, meant decidedly fewer bugs and bug bites so far. We all like that, for sure. Ground swallows also seem to have offered reprieve from earwigs and other summer pests. But, there's a month to go.
Meanwhile, apparent upswings in ocean bait fish like lance, caplin and smelt seem to have spoken well for species further up the food chain, including humans. A successful food fishery and improved commercial outlooks in other species speak well for local economies.
The week has brought gifts of divinity, trout fishing, moose hunting, cabin fever and road kill — fun and favourite things to share between us, as witnessed at the playground all summer, and in the lessons of another new school year now upon us.
Be careful out there.
Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 688-2003, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org