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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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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 2003

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – January 29, 2003

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Previous Post Our 20-hour journey into Punta Arenas drained all of us but went without any major difficulty. Jorge Jordan, Ricardo Matus and Olivia Blank provided us with logistic support that made it much easier to prepare for our field camp along the shores of Bahia Lomas. This was so much more important than any other year because our team has grown to 22 people. The logistical needs of a group this size will strain all resources from food all the way down to latrine management. However, the benefit of a team composed of equal numbers of North and South…

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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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Chile, Tierra del Fuego 2011

Have red knots declined to a new low? Tierra Del Fuego 2011

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Previous Post In one of the pivotal papers chronicling the long, sad decline of the red knot, Allan Baker of the Royal Ontario Museum argued that a population of shorebirds can reach a tipping point that spells extinction.  This tipping point can occur when the population appears robust thus fooling everyone into thinking there is no serious problem.  This happened to many long-lost species, like the passenger pigeon.  The population numbered in the millions then in the thousands.  Then one day they were gone — too few adult birds, too few young and a sudden natural loss dealt the knockout…

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Chile, Tierra del Fuego 2011

a real heartbreaker . Tierra del Fuego 2011

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We tried to catch red knots for four days. On the first, day we tried for a small group on the shingle beach at Twin Hills.  For reasons only apparent to them, the birds left before the tide moved them up into the catch area.  Over the next few hours, before the tide flooded the catch area, two other flocks of red knots came into the area but left without landing. Finally, the tide crested and fell, our net was no longer useful on the falling tide, so we had to give up for the day. A Flock of godwit…

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Chile, conservation, Tierra del Fuego 2011

bahia lomas and delaware bay need job creating conservation projects . Tierra del Fuego 2011

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Previous Post Ricardo Olea, the mayor of the district of Primavera which includes Cerro Sombrero invited us to dinner at their home to continue the discussion about our team’s future work in Bahia Lomas.  It was Ricardo that encouraged us to create the bird observatory.  He is the elected representative of an area that covers over half the island of Tierra del Fuego and works tirelessly to create job opportunities in this area. The bird observatory could help.  We have two main goals: first to create a new protection for migrant shorebird and the endemic bird species through increased awareness…

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