Arctic Shorebirds – Our First Expedition 2000 -July 12
We spent the last few days of our expedition preparing for our departure and tying up the some of the lose ends of our work. We had good news on Wednesday when Bruno and Mark found the eggs in several nests piping. We were elated because we assumed it would all happen after we left. The team readily volunteered to keep a constant surveillance on the nests and by Thursday morning, the day Ed was to come and take us back to civilization, our first nest, nest one, hatched all four chicks. Red knot chicks are born precocial, so the young will leave the nest after only a day in the nest and follow their parents to the nearest wetland. It is a perilous journey in which they must do their best to avoid the ever patrolling jaegers and the occasional Arctic fox. We suspect this is the reason for their nesting in such a desolate and barren habitat. It is the area of the tundra you are least likely to encounter predators because there is so little prey. Seeing young before we left was a gift.
It took us most of Thursday to get off the island. We had to split into two groups. The first, comprised of Kathy, Nancy, Liz, Barbara and Bruno, stayed in Coral Harbor at Leonie’s Place, a local bed and breakfast (above, Leonie, our host). By the day’s end the rest of us were back in Rankin Inlet discussing the results of our trip.