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Arctic 2003

Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Aerial Surveys – June 29, 2003

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Aerial Survey for Red Knots in Foxe Basin by Dave Golden The Red Knot – Atlantic Brant Aerial Telemetry Survey portion of this year’s Arctic expedition is an International partnership among the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Service, and the Atlantic Flyway Council. Our purpose is to identify nesting locations of red knot and Atlantic brant, two migratory birds of special importance to New Jersey. Over the next week, we will be conducting aerial telemetry surveys around the Foxe Basin to locate red knot and brant that were equipped with radio…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot

Expedition to the Arctic: Aerial Surveys – June 30, 2003

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Previous Post Aerial Survey of Red knots in Fox Basin by Dave Golden We woke early today only to find out that visibility around the Foxe Basin was still low due to dense fog and low-level cloud cover. We discussed the all the possible alternate flight routes with out pilots, but quickly realized that nowhere around the Foxe Basin would be safe to fly at the altitude we required to conduct our telemetry surveys. Our only option was to sit and hope that the weather cleared. What added to the frustration was that the weather where we were in Iqaluit…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Aerial Surveys – July 1, 2003

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Previous Post Aerial Survey for Red Knots in Foxe Basin by Dave Golden Today the people in Igloolik celebrated Canada Day, which is their country’s equivalent of July 4th. We took a brief walk through town to experience the festivities. There seemed to be a lot of activity in this little town of roughly 1,600 people, with a large group of people gathered by the harbor and participating in several different contests. We also had the opportunity to do a little bird watching as we walked down town. Some the bird species that we observed included Icelandic gulls and Thayers…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – June 21, 2003

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Go to An Introduction on the Purpose of Our Expeditions Our 2003 Arctic Expedition will follow a unique and potentially disastrous period for the Red Knot and the other shorebirds that stop in Delaware Bay. The birds rely on the eggs of the horseshoe crab to double body weight with fat to fuel their flight to the Arctic. This year there were virtually no eggs until the end of the season and only about half of the previous years number of red knots came to the bay. Those that came had to stay longer than at any time in the…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Aerial Surveys – July 2, 2003

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Previous Post Aerial Survey for Red Knots in Foxe Basin by Dave Golden After 5 hours of sleep, our third day of flying began in the late afternoon with a short flight south of Igloolik to cover an area of potential red knot habitat. During this 1-hour flight, Dave picked up signals from the transmitters of 4 red knots. All of these signals came from areas that were clearly designated as “potential red knot nesting habitat” in the models. Like the red knot that was located on Prince Charles Island, these knots were in areas that had never been surveyed…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – June 23, 2003

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Previous Post The first leg of our arctic trip includes the grueling journey from home to Rankin Inlet in Nunavut territory. Our second leg involves the frantic gathering of the team and equipment and delivering everyone to our remote study site on Southampton Island. This year it all went awry. While we were in Rankin preparing to fly into base camp, nearly all of our equipment sat stranded in Winnipeg. With the help of several Calm Air staff and Bev, from Skyward, our equipment found its way to the Rankin airport. Unfortunately, our gear arrived at 7:15 at night and,…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – June 26, 2003

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Previous Post In each of our five years of Arctic fieldwork we have encountered a critical problem that elsewhere would be minor. The first year we took insufficient food, a major difficulty when a plane drops you off and doesn’t return for 9 days. Two years ago we forgot oil for the generator and ATV, which made them unusable when the oil ran low. This year we forgot a critical cable that prevented us from sending reports from the computer to the satellite phone. Pete tried making an RS 232 cable using wires and plugs from the GPS units and…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – June 28, 2003

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Previous Post The north esker was our last to be searched. It lies along two lakes running perpendicular to the main esker, approximately 3 km north. Last year we found one nest on the esker and a second just off the esker less than 1km away. As described last years journal we tracked both pairs with transmitters. It was a unique opportunity to visit their daily lives, one incubating for 12 hours at a time, the other flying far from the nest to feed, probably to the ocean coast 10 km away. We learned first hand the complicated natural history…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – July 4, 2003

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Previous Post With the sun shining brightly we finally retired to our tent homes at about 2:00 am. We established camp next to an unnamed lake in low and mostly vegetated tundra, characteristically unsuitable for red knots, but a productive habitat for nearly all the other shorebirds in the central Arctic. Within a day, Mark, Rodger and Steve had ferreted out the nests of semipalmated sandpiper, white-rumped sandpiper, pectoral sandpiper, Baird’s sandpiper, ruddy turnstone, stilt sandpiper, red phalarope, golden plover, black-bellied plover, glaucous gull, Sabine’s gull, tundra swan, snow goose, Canada geese, white fronted geese, king eiders, long-tailed duck, pacific…

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – July 6, 2003

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Previous Post Early the next morning, our third day at base camp, we intended to sweep the most promising areas found the day before. Although we intuited the habitat as marginal, and our preliminary survey of potential habitats in an area of approximately 100 sq. km substantiated that, we intended to test it by sweeping the most promising areas. We employed the method developed at Southampton Island using 50ft ropes with 2 ft plastic strips every 7 ft carried between 9 people. Our search would be more difficult as the areas suitable for nesting were scattered amongst more vegetated habitats….

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Arctic, Arctic 2003, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Expedition to the Arctic: Red Knot – July 8, 2003

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Previous Post Our trip back to our homes went without too much difficulty. In not too much time we were already reflecting on the trip, our accomplishments, and findings. First and foremost, we successfully completed another Arctic expedition without serious mishap, not a small accomplishment in an area so isolated and fraught with danger. We accomplished a great amount of work, including moving an entire team and camp to an altogether different location. We found that the number of red knots at our Southampton Island study site continues to decline. The numbers are so low it might be more useful…

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