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red knot

Arctic, Arctic 2001, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our second expedition 2001 – July 15

searching for knots
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Previous Post   Bearing Arms We must be among the few biologists who study the habits of innocent tiny bird chicks while armed. Because two bears set up temporary residence within sight of our esker we must now split into only two groups, each with shotguns. Our fifth bear, massive and slow, hauled himself over the ridge south of camp, lay down, and slept for the next three days. He slumbered near two of our three instrumented birds with broods, leaving little chance to work on them. Our sixth bear rested near the south ridge close to our only other…

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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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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, 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 2001, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our second expedition 2001 – July 3

hoochie
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Previous Post No Oil No Expedition It’s hard to describe the isolation of our study site except by the extraordinary silence that has an almost tangible quality. It was during just one of those periods that we heard a plane although the idea was ludicrous. We hear or see planes rarely and only then at 20,000 ft. heading for Europe. But emerging from the overcast sky came the Skyward Cessna Caravan rounding the esker and flying low over the camp. We stared dumbstruck, was there a problem, did some tragedy befall someone’s family? Fortunately the plane had a mission. On…

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Arctic, Arctic 2001, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our second expedition 2001 – July 6

Arctic Storm
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Previous Post     Polar Bears and Shorebirds As of yesterday evening we have sighted more polar bears than red knot nests: one red knot nest in 7 days of searching, three bears in 24 hours with no searching. The bears, the largest land predator in the world, tend to stand out wherever they go in this dun colored barren tundra. The first, sighted by Bruno, strolled lazily within a few km of our team while we searched for knot nests north of our base. The large male kept moving and eventually disappeared over a low ridge to the north….

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Arctic, Arctic 2001, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our second expedition 2001 – July 9

red knot chick
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Previous Post   Brooding Chicks Persistent, difficult fieldwork paid off for our team in the last few days. After several long days of searching new areas, Bruno, with Mark, Nancy, and Steve, discovered an adult in “broken-wing” display, a sure sign of a nearby nest. But, she responded oddly. In the typical way, she limped around Bruno, wings hanging limply, vainly attempting to pull him in her direction. Then she gathered herself and performed for the others in the team increasing distances from the original display. She wasn’t incubating but brooding and moving as her chicks moved. It was hard…

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Arctic, Arctic 2001, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our second expedition 2001 – July 13

Steve Gates Tracking
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Previous Post   Polar Bear Making it Hard to Do Our Work Our fourth bear finally arose about 1:00 p.m. Stretching and yawning, he lumbered slowly into the water and swam off to the northwest. He moved out of sight within an hour. After our close call of the previous day, the bear coming within 100m of camp, we decided to step up our precautionary efforts. We now share in all-night watches, and during the day, we split into groups equal to the number of guns we pack. We realized we must take it seriously. Johnny told us he rarely…

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

Arctic Shorebirds – Our third expedition 2002 – June 21

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Previous Post   Early Difficulties We left Coral Harbour for our field site with some relief. Not because of the residents, who we found to be both interesting and friendly to outsiders, but because of the difficulties we encountered. One setback was discovering, after our arrival in Coral Harbour, that the generator and stove we had stored the previous year had been stolen. Thus began a day-long desperate search for a small generator. Without it, we would have no photographs, webpages, satellite phone, computer data entry and analysis, GIS entry and analysis, etc. In the end, we rented a new…

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