We finally lifted off from Rankin Inlet with a full load of people (9) and equipment (800 lbs). The rest of our team (5) and equipment (1300 lbs) flew to Coral Harbor on Southampton Island by commercial aircraft. We would eventually reunite in Coral Harbor. During our flight on the Cessna we started the search for instrumented knots. We covered the 250 mile flight to the Bay of God’s Mercy site and started an intensive search for signals over this vast area of Arctic tundra.
Unfortunately we found only one knot. In a second search of Bell’s Peninsula we located another bird. When we first found the signal we used the two antennas located on either side of the airplane to pinpoint the bird’s location to within 200 meters. We had hope to find more birds than last year (7) because we placed more transmitters on the birds while they were stopped at Delaware Bay, 100 as compared to 65. We will continue the search next week on King William and Victoria Islands. Nevertheless, we decided to set camp in the Bay of God’s Mercy area.
On 6/29/00 we flew the Bay of God’s Mercy site once again mainly to locate a base camp. After some time we located our camp at 63o 23′ 51″ N W 84o 56′ 31.9″ N . Ed, our pilot, had to choose a flat area without bumps or large rocks so that he could safely land the plane.
Eventually he found one and after three trips we had successfully landed our team and set our living tents and cook tents.
We got lucky after only a few hours at base camp. While waiting for the entire crew to land Graciela and Mandy heard several calling knots. A small group moved off into the rocky tundra habitat where red knots typically nest. In hopes of eliciting a response, they started playing the call back tape we had prepared before we left. A knot responded. We moved forward into the area of the call and eventually Hooch, Barry’s Dog found our first knot.
After a hard day Barbara, Rick, Brad and Sherry get ready for a warm meal. The outside temperature hovers at about 36 F (3 c) with a stiff wind of about 15 mph.
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