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Expeditions and Travels

Arctic, Arctic 2002, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our third expedition 2002 – June 18 first day

Inuit Art
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Go to An Introduction on the Purpose of Our Expeditions   Going Early to Understand More Risking colder and more unpredictable weather we decided to begin our 2002 Arctic Expedition ten days earlier than our previous trips. We are trying to carry out our surveys when red knots more actively defend territories. Predicting the timing of knot breeding remains elusive, however. Last year’s incubation started at least ten days earlier than the previous year, leaving us asking the critical question, what is normal? We still have a lot to learn about the complex breeding behavior of the knot. Earlier is…

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Arctic, Arctic 2002, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our third expedition 2002 – June 30

red knot nest
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Previous Post Sunny Day Dark Outcome I can’t imagine the sun shines more brightly anywhere else in the world than it does on a clear day on the tundra. With no wind and no clouds the sun warmed us until we were compelled to work in short sleeve shirts. Although our spiritual beliefs ranged widely, we were all thankful to the same spirit on that warm day. In contrast to the day of the 50 mph winds, we felt like we had taken a trip to the Caribbean. Our luck with the birds took the opposite twist. We had delayed…

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Arctic, Arctic 2002, Expeditions and Travels

Arctic Shorebirds – Our third expedition 2002 – June 25

tents in the Arctic tundra
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Previous Post   Knots Usually Nest on Eskers  and We Endure an Arctic Summer Storm After successfully surveying the area surrounding our main esker we decided to tackle the esker to the southeast. Between the two, we found two pairs of sanderlings who were not yet nesting in the same area as the two found last year. One of those birds was banded on the Delaware Bay, thus proving that our study area is populated with sanderlings that come through the bay. Along the south esker we found only two displaying knots presumably indicating nests. We decided to return later…

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Arctic, Arctic 2002, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our third expedition 2002 – July 2

Aircraft flight path
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Previous Post   New Mapping Helps Nearing the end of our trip we began to increase our knot nest count. The location of these nests substantially increased our understanding of knot breeding habitat. When we began our work in the Arctic we literally started at the beginning. First, we had to find red knots by attaching radio transmitters to a small number that we had trapped on the Delaware Bay. Next, we searched for them by airplane throughout the Canadian Arctic. Consequently, Rick produced a map of breeding habitat that was the first comprehensive assessment of breeding habitat of the…

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Arctic, Arctic 2002, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our third expedition 2002 – July 4

2002 team
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Previous Post   Going Home If you go to the Arctic you can expect to enjoy an adventure from beginning to end. Nancy, Steve and I separated from the rest of the team and stayed the night in Coral Harbour. We expected a simple transition from field to town and looked forward to a shower and a night in bed. But our trip to Coral Harbour brought much more. Our flight out of camp went without a hitch. Ed brought the Cessna Caravan airplane down at about the time we had broken camp. We left it with a mix of…

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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: 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, Expeditions and Travels

Expedition to the Arctic: Aerial Surveys – July 4, 2003

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Our final day (evening) of flying provided us with the opportunity to survey the last few spots in the Foxe Basin that we had hoped to cover during this year’s trip. Feeling well rested, we anxiously boarded the plane and began our final flight. We first flew north to cover some potential red knot habitat located on the eastern side of the Great Plains of the Koukdjuak. No red knots were found in this area, but as we turned south and flew along the western side of this part of Baffin Island Dave did pick up the signal of another…

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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: 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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