Our team includes Kathy Clark, Amanda Dey, Sherry Meyer and Larry Niles from the Division of Fish and Wildlife; Mark Peck from the Royal Ontario Museum; Nancy Donnelly, a teacher with Quakertown Friends School; Rick Lathrop with Rutgers University; Bruce Luebke with the US Fish and Wildlife Service; Graciela Escudero, an Argentinian Biologist; Brad Winn with the Georgia Division of Fish and Wildlife; Bruno Kern, a videographer; Liz Nelson and Barbara Meyers, volunteers with ROM; and Barry Truitt of The Nature Conservancy and his dog Hooch.
13 out of our 15 member team have arrived in Rankin Inlet, a small town of 1500 people, mostly of Inuit ancestry. The town will be our jumping off point for our charter flight to Southampton Island where we will establish our base camp and begin our Arctic-wide search for transmittered red knots.
Our plane is a Cessna Caravan whose pilot is Ed Swayda of Skyward Aviation. Here he is preparing the plane for today’s flight. The Caravan is a single engine turbocharged plane perfectly suited for landing in remote Arctic locations. Today we will be landing on a rocky tundra flat to set our base camp. We will then begin to shuttle the rest of our equipment and team members to the base camp from Coral Harbor.
Barry Truitt and his English Setter Hooch. Hooch is trained to hunt woodcock and we hope he will help us find red knot nests.
Sherry Meyer and Ed Swayda ( inside the plane) are hooking up the antennas to the outside strut of the plane. With one antenna on either side we will be able to pick up transmitters in a transect about 15 miles wide. Our first search will take place today on Southampton Island. We hope to set our base camp tonight and fly in the rest of crew tomorrow. Tomorrow we will begin our ground survey for knot nests. Our Arctic aerial survey will probably take place next week (weather permitting).
Larry Niles is a scientist and conservationist with over 35 years experience in recovering wildlife populations, leading scientific expeditions and restoring wildlife habitat. He lives on Delaware Bay in Greenwich, NJ
The blog speaks to all people who love wildlife and wildland and always seeks to remain free of partisan bias. It explores the vital connection between good conservation and the welfare of the people living in our natural landscapes and how all can join in solving the growing problem of our rapidly changing climate.