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Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Chile, conservation, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – 2002: Introduction

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In our third trip to Tierra Del Fuego, we will continue assessing the status of wintering red knots with a international team of biologists from Chile, Argentina, US, Canada, and Australia. We do this to accomplish two major conservation goals. The first goal is to help focus attention on the important concentration areas for wintering birds like Bahia Lomas in Chile, Bahia San Sebastion in Argentina, and the Atlantic Coast beach of Rio Grande in Argentina. Our second goal is to determine the population numbers and the age ratio of the wintering flocks in Bahia Lomas, which accounts for a…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – January 25-26, 2002

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Previous Post We arrived in Punta Arenas on 1/26/02. After a gruelling 24-hour journey from Philadelphia, Toronto, and Atlanta, the North American part of the team met with Clive Minton from Melbourne, Australia, Patricia and Gladys from Argentina, Anna Marie Roa and Alexandra Aparisio from Chile. Ricardo Matus and Olivia Blankh, our Chilean hosts had arranged many of the details of our trip such as locating critical equipment and securing the permission of the landowners along Bahia Lomas. Jorge Jordan helped us in many ways including helping us move the three truckloads of equipment to our field site. By early…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – January 29, 2002

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Previous Post To bed at 12:00 a.m., we were all out on the flats by 6:30 a.m. trying to find roosting red knots. With virtually no wind, all birds roosted out on the tidal flat at the water’s edge. We made our way out to the flock of 5,000 knots and 10,000 godwits and scanned 10 birds with bands, seven were from the Delaware Bay. We returned to this roost area of isolated salicornia hummocks in a very dry mud flat. We set two nets, camouflaging them with salicornia and the dry mud so that the 20-meter net and cannons…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – January 31, 2002

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Previous Post Wind and tide prevail along the shore of Bahia Lomas like very few places in the world. A normal day brings winds of over 30 mph and gusting much higher. A storm can bring winds that would raise fear in most people. But here children play in the bow of the ferry while it rocks and crashes through water whipped to a froth by a 60 mph wind. The tide not only races through the Strait of Magellan but dramatically alters the shorebird landscape. At the neap (or inter-moon) tides the vast areas of mudflat, sandflat and salicornia…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 3, 2002

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Previous Post While the team has been capturing birds, Patricia, Gladys, and at times Steve have been doing their best to conduct scans of red knots for color bands. Scanning is not just looking for banded birds but also keeping count of the number of birds scanned so you know the percentage of banded birds in the total count. As with most things in Bahia Lomas, scanning requires a bit more effort than elsewhere. Scanning is best done when birds are feeding because they are moving and legs are exposed. The counter has to keep a still scope and count…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2002

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – February 7, 2002

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Previous Post I’ll start with the bad news. Ken and Guy completed the survey of Bahia Lomas finding even fewer birds than they found last year. Red knots declined from 45,150 in 2000 to 29,335 in 2001, and finally 20,755 in this survey. The bird population has fallen so dramatically, we are at a loss to explain the magnitude. It cannot be the result of a catastrophe in Bahia Lomas because the count of Hudsonian godwit only wobbled from 14,030 in 2000 to 27,450 in 2001 and finally 21,650 in 2002. A catastrophe, like an oil spill, would have affected…

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