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Red Knot

Red Knot, Tierra del Fuego 2018

Looking Towards the Future

king penguins in Porvenir Chile
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The previous post “Choosing Extinction? From Malevolence to Farce After nearly two decades of trips to Chile, one gets the pulse of the people and community and how it changes over time. In 2001 we stayed at a small estancia on the east end of Tierra del Fuego, run by a diminutive but muscular rancher.  He had a face as craggy as a rock wall but he was generous and eager for the company.  After we finished three weeks of grueling field work, he offered to celebrate its completion with a lamb roast, or Asado. This traditional feast starts with…

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Brazil, Brazil 2017, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Travel

On the Birds and Boats of Brazil

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Previous Post Birds and Boats I am a biologist that loves the birds and boats of northern Brazil. For good reason. In addition to the enormous bird diversity inherent in all tropical environments, the northern coast of Brazil in the states of Para and Maranhao stands out as one of the most important shorebird wintering areas in the western hemisphere.  It’s an amazingly vast area of mostly unpopulated beaches, intertidal sand and mud flats and mangrove forests. This ecological wonder also produces an abundance of fish and shellfish, on which the birds depend.  It also supports a network of traditional…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2017, Red Knot, Shorebird, shorebird conservation

Abstracts from the meeting on 20 years of conservation and research on Delaware Bay

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Previous Post Program   May 10, 2017: 09:00 – 17:00   Note: the program only identifies the name of each speaker. Co-authors are indentified in the abstracts that follow.   09:00   Welcome and introduction: Larry Niles   Research and conservation of shorebirds in Delaware Bay – Chair Larry Niles 09:10   Clive Minton: Twenty years of scientific and conservation work on Delaware Bay 09:30   Humphrey Sitters: The daily rate of mass gain of Red Knots in Delaware Bay in relation to horseshoe crab egg density and from year to year 09:50   Robert A. Robinson: Mass gain in a spring-staging long distance…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2017, Red Knot, Shorebird, shorebird conservation

20 Years on Delaware Bay: Scarcity and Abundance -Shorebirds Near the Finish Line

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Previous Post Our latest catch of red knots and ruddy turnstones two days ago ( May 27)  suggests 2017 to be one of the most challenging years of our 20 years of work on Delaware Bay.  It challenged the birds for certain. For example, as of two days, ago ( May 27th) average weights of red knots remain mired in the mid 160’s when it should be in the 180-gram range.    This seems a minor difference but to red knots, it means a flight through the cold and often inhospitable north country of Canada and dropping out of the…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2017, Red Knot, Shorebird, shorebird conservation

20 Years on Delaware Bay – The Importance of water temperatures, windstorms and shoals

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Previous Post As we begin our field work on Delaware Bay shorebirds, our 21st season, oddly enough we are once again faced with extraordinary circumstances.   As usual, the birds, after various flight of up to 6  days of nonstop flying,  arrive in emaciated condition.   For example in one catch this week we caught several red knots at around 86 grams far lower than it normal weight of 130 grams.  Putting that into perspective, a women of 145 pounds would tip the scale at 93 lbs while a male of 175 lbs at 113 lbs!  In other words these…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2017, Red Knot, Shorebird, shorebird conservation

20 Years of Shorebird Conservation and Research on Delaware Bay

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A Monumental Work of Conservation This year marks the 21st year of the Delaware Bay Shorebird Project. As one of the longest running shorebird conservation projects in the world, the only one of its kind in the US, we wanted to memorialize this monumental work. To do so we convened a daylong series of presentations by scientists and managers from all over the world who have worked on the bay.  Here are the abstracts. They are worth a look by nearly anyone interested in shorebirds and Delaware Bay.   DelawareBay_Workshop_Program&Abstract_CWF The presentations ranged widely. We heard talks diving deep into the…

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Bird Study, Brazil, Brazil 2017, Red Knot, Shorebird

Our Brazilian Expedition – Trapping Shorebirds in Panaquatira

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Previous Post The capture of Arctic nesting shorebirds first brought us to Brazil in 2013.  We also brought 125 geolocators and caught both ruddy turnstones and red knots, attaching 85 on the former and 30 on the latter.  But we also came to create a new perspective on shorebirds in this place, one of the most important shorebird habitats in the world. For all intents and purposes, shorebird work in this area started In the mid-1980’s, when Canadian biologists, Guy Morrison and Ken Ross surveyed from an airplane, the entire coast of South America.  In this monumental and dangerous survey,…

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Brazil, Brazil 2017, Red Knot, rural communities, Shorebird

Our Brazilian Expedition – The Rights of Traditional Communities

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Previous Post Over the last few days of our expedition, we left the state of Para and flew to Sao Luis in the adjacent state of Maranhao.  There we begin the next phase of our work, trapping red knots, ruddy turnstones and other species, as we have done since 2014.     Traditional Communities Have Rights But prior to leaving Para, while we stayed in the village of Apiu Salvatore, the fishermen asked to meet with Max.  He hadn’t planned it, so at first, the reason was unknown. The fishermen of the village knew Max represented ICMBio, and that Apiu Salvatore…

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Bird Study, Brazil, Brazil 2017, Red Knot, rural communities, Shorebird

Our Brazilian Expedition – Going to the heart of the Mangrove and Beach Ecosystem

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Previous Post It took us long into the night to reach our next port.  We went from the relatively populated area of Braganca to the dark heart of this coastal region of Viseu.   In three trucks, we caravanned through a maze of remnant tropical rainforests, cattle pasture and impenetrable second-growth woodland.  Along the rain-slicked red clay road, small and desperate looking towns popped out of nowhere always looking like the past was a better day. The road cut through countless mangrove forests that define this region.  We reached Viseu too late to do anything but find a place to stay…

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Bird Study, Brazil, Brazil 2017, Red Knot, rural communities, Shorebird

Our Brazilian Expedition – Conducting a Scientific Investigation in a Tropical Wilderness

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Previous Post Tough Conditions for Scientific Investigation   It’s hard to imagine the difficulties of people living at latitude 37 degrees north when coming to the equator in northern Brazil. It challenges even the best-prepared field investigations.  But after three days our team has not only acclimated but accomplished surveys in two separate estuaries.     The tide cut short our first day in the field.  High tide persisted longer than we expected and our survey must take place when birds forage.  Shorebirds typically forage until 1 to 2 after before high tide and start again 1-2 hours after, usually…

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Brazil, Brazil 2017, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Our Brazilian Expedition – investigating the plight of shorebirds and rural people

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We leave a cold and dark NJ with mix feelings for our destination tropical Brazil.  It will be warm and sunnyish –  forecasts predict drenching thunderstorms threatening us every day of our trip.  We will explore a very new place, the ocean coast of Para, a largely unsurveyed coast known to be a wintering shorebird mecca.  At the same time, we will undergo trials experienced by few biologists.  Zeke is prevalent in Para, but recent cases of malaria are equally alarming.  Of course one must be ever vigilant for food and water pathogens.  Last year I developed food poisoning ending…

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Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird, Tierra Del Fuego 2003

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego – 2003: Introduction

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On our fourth trip to the southern-most tip of South America, our team will focus once again on the condition of the wintering red knots (summering knots for South Americans). These are the same birds that stopover on the Delaware Bay each May to refuel before flying to nest in the Canadian Arctic. After leaving the Arctic in late July, red knots make a journey that nearly spans the globe to the shores of Chile and Argentina where we will do our work. When they leave in late February they will slowly work their way up the South American coast…

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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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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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