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Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – 2001: Introduction

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On February 1, biologists with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program will lead a team of other biologists from the US, Canada and Chile to Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost tip of South America, to study the Red knot. The knot, a dove sized, red breasted shorebird, flies an incredible 10,000 mile journey from arctic breeding grounds to winter in Tierra del Fuego. On their return journey to the Arctic, the birds run out of fuel and stopover on the Delaware bay, where they gorge on the eggs of the horseshoe crab. The…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 9, 2001

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Previous Post Sherry, Brad, Ricardo, Steve and I drove in search of a new access to the bayshore. We knew the birds roosted between Punta Catalina and our mid-bay access. So we wound our way on a two path road down to the bluffs that form the western corner of the bay before it climbs north to the point. The wind began to howl again gusting to 45 mph. The two path ended at an old abandoned farm standing desolate in a vast pampas-like grassland. We saw many abandoned farms in this area. It’s appears that farming constantly changes in…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 10, 2001

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Previous Post The entire team began the day searching for birds that were finding refuge from the morning high tide. Sherry, Olivia, Mandy and Bruno took position at the mid-bay access point, while Brad, Bruce and Steve did the same at the stone beach or eastern site. Ricardo and I moved around in the van, but ended up at the Bluffs, an access point in between the stone beach and the mid-bay points. We ruled out the western portion of our study site because we knew it would flood completely. The tides were going to get higher than the previous…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 12, 2001

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Previous Post Our last two days sped by with the preparations necessary to go back to Punta Arenas and eventually back to the US. Preparing to leave Julian’s house was like breaking camp, we had to gather all of our equipment, personal belongings, cooking utensils and clean so it looked better than when we arrived. Julian was a wonderful host, basically yielding his house to us while we were there. We had all grown fond of him and his home. On our trip back to Punta Arenas we detoured to Cerro Samberro to fuel and return some equipment. From a…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 4, 2001

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Previous Post We took most of the day making our way from Punta Arenas to Bahia Lomas. Preparations for an expedition of this kind required all 12 people of our group. We had to ensure that we had all we needed, from pots and pans to sleeping bags, in one shot because once there it would be very difficult to re-supply. There are no Wawa’s in Tierra del Fuego. Transportation presented our most difficult problem. Through Jorge we arranged for two vehicles, a large van that could hold up to ten people and a double-cab pickup truck. With gear, we…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 8, 2001

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Previous Post We began our search for the high tide roost by positioning all our team along the full length of eastern portion of Bahia Lomas, called Banco Bahia Lomas. This beach stretches for 10 km and gaining access was our most difficult job. Bruce and Bruno took the portion in front of our tent site on the western-most portion of the beach. Ricardo and Olivia drove the truck down along the beach to the east and watched the second section. We took the truck to the next access near the east end of the beach, where Mandy and Brad…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 7, 2001

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Previous Post Ricardo and Olivia left the Estancia to meet the landowner from whom we needed permission. We learned the previous night through a satellite phone call that Jorge Jordan had spoke to him so we were somewhat optimistic about our chances. While Ricardo and Olivia were gone, we reluctantly bid farewell to Guy, Rick and Ken. They planned to leave early for various reasons. Guy said it was like leaving in the middle of a movie. We were sorry to see them go. Together we had learned that studying the birds of Bahia Lomas, although a worthwhile effort, required…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 6, 2001

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Previous Post Our luck changed like the tides of Bahia Lomas. Our day started with a dawn survey of the bay front, west of yesterday’s survey area. We fielded eight biologists (Guy, Bruno, Sherry, Mandy, Rick, Brad, Bruce and myself) spread over about two miles of beach. We used handheld radio to report bird numbers and movements as the tide gradually receded after flooding. Within minutes, everyone reported large numbers of knots, especially in the western most edge near the headland that juts into the bay. In that area, we found that the birds lingered in the gradually draining tidal…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 5, 2001

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Previous Post We decided to split into two groups today, one focusing on trying to gain vehicular access to the bay, the other trying to scout out the birds. The latter was to help us understand more about the movements of the birds in relation to the changing tides. More specifically, we needed to know where they will be at or near the high tides, the time when we will concentrate our trapping. Our first need, however, was to get onto the bayshore of Bahia Lomas. With Ricardo as our lead, Ken, Rick and I sought out the owner of…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2001

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego Shorebird Stopover – February 3, 2001 – new post

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Previous Post After 22 hours of flying we arrived in Punta Arenas at about 3:30 on Friday the 2nd. Our southward flight of about 8,000 miles approximates the northern flight of the red knots taken in March. They fly under their own power, of course, and at about 40 miles/hour not 400 miles/hour. Our flight took us inland though the North American and South American continent while the knots fly north along the eastern coast of South America then make a fantastic jump from northern Brazil to the Delaware Bay. That flight probably takes over 40 hours of continuous flying…

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