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shorebirds

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

Arctic Shorebirds – Our Second Expedition 2001 June 27

arctic tundra
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Go To Introduction to Expeditions to Arctic and Chile in Search of Red Knots   Seaching for Arctic Nesting Shorebirds Under a clear sky, and slapped by a brisk Arctic wind, our team walked from the First Air 737 into the Rankin Inlet Airport. After one night in Rankin our team will split. Nancy Donnelly (United Friends School) and Brad Winn (Wildlife Resources Unit of Georgia Division of Natural Resources) will go on to Coral Harbor, meet Johnny Alouit, our Inuit team member, and pick up our rental ATV. Mark Peck (Royal Ontario Museum), Barry Truitt ( Virginia Coast Reserve,…

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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 2001, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Shorebird

Arctic Shorebirds – Our Second Expedition 2001 June 30

Jaeger in Arctic
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Previous Post   Not So Lucky Last year we got lucky. On the first search of the first day, we found a nesting red knot. In all we found 11 red knot nests, more than any other researcher had ever located. We hoped to relocate nests within these 11 territories, perhaps even locating them in the same cups or in nearby patches of Dryas. As in 2000, we planned to study this group of birds at these nests using both radio telemetry and observation. Then we planned to move on to other nearby eskers, the sinuous ridges that are the…

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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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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2016, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird, shorebird ecology

the birds lift away to the arctic

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Previous Post On our final effort to trap shorebirds on Delaware Bay, we had the remarkable opportunity to watch sanderling and ruddy turnstones lift off for the Arctic. We first saw them feeding on the wave-tossed shoreline within the protected area in Villas; 1500 birds weaving as a single thread 5 deep with the contours of the wave, acting like a flying flock on the ground. Then a disturbance, a crow flying low down the shoreline and 2000 birds fill the sky.  Most settled again but one group of about 300 flew more with greater determination than the rest. Still…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2016, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird, shorebird ecology

a shorebird paradise lost

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Previous Post We conducted our first bay wide count of shorebirds on Delaware Bay and the results suggest we are rapidly approaching the peak number of shorebirds. Last year we counted 24,700 knots and 16,000 ruddy turnstones. This year’s counts are lower because it’s early, but still over 20,000 knots and 16,000 turnstones, 10,000 sanderling have stopped over in the bay. These promising results are preliminary, but it seems we are getting close to our peak population of red knots and at the peak of the other two species – if populations are similar to last year. Bird condition also…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2016, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird, shorebird ecology, wildlife tracking

Early News Is Good for Shorebirds on Delaware bay

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    The Early News is Good   Our team trapped over 500 shorebirds over the weekend including several hundred red knots in two catches on May 12th and 14th.   Most of the caught birds,  knots, ruddy turnstones and sanderlings arrived in good condition, always a relief at this early stage in the season .  Ruddy turnstones  arrived in better-than-average condition, weighing in at 5 grams higher than normal arrival weights.   The condition on arrival is one of the main bits of information of this work.  In some years, knots struggled to get to the bay coming in at…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2015, habitat management, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

2015 Delaware Bay Shorebird Banding Season Ends

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Previous Post All our efforts to help shorebirds on Delaware Bay this year couldn’t have been better rewarded – nearly every red knot left the bay in good condition and in one of the earliest departures in the 19 years of the Project. We counted just over 24,000 knots in our aerial count of the entire Bayshore on May 26th. Just two days later, most had left and we could find only a few hundred, feeding on eggs like human shoppers feed on bargains at a half-price sale. By May 31st, virtually all were gone, along with the ruddy turnstones,…

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Arctic, Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2015, Expeditions and Travels, habitat management, Red Knot, Restoring Habitat, Science, Shorebird, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

The Red Knots “Vote with their Wings”

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Previous Post Clive Minton is fond of saying, “the knots vote with their wings” as a way of saying knots concentrate in the best places for knots. Of course it’s true, animals move to the habitats they find most suitable, nature leaves little room for anything but. Sometimes however, animals use a habitat only because they have little choice — in other words, they are making the best of a bad situation. The job of a good wildlife biologist is to understand the difference. Unfortunately, it’s often not obvious. In all the places studied by this author — Tierra del…

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Arctic, Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2015, Expeditions and Travels, habitat management, Red Knot, Restoring Habitat, Science, Shorebird, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

19,077 Red Knots Observed in New Jersey

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Previous Post Despite the threatening forecast of a cold drizzle and strong winds, our team persevered to complete the first bay-wide count of this season. On the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay, we counted 19,077 red knots – the most seen in the state in a decade. With Delaware’s shorebird team recording 2,000 knots along their entire shoreline, the total knot count of 21,077 is not far from the 24,000 seasonal maximum of the last three years. This is good news in either of two completely different ways. One explanation is that perhaps most of the knots have already…

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Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2015, habitat management, Red Knot, Restoring Habitat, Science, Shorebird, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

2015 Shorebird Migration and Horseshoe Crab Spawn on Delaware Bay

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Previous Post Thousands of shorebirds now fill Delaware Bay’s beaches and marshes in a determined effort to regain lost reserves with free-for-the-taking fatty eggs of the horseshoe crab. The crab spawn began ten days ago and has gained momentum over the last week as the volume of eggs grows like a well-funded savings account. The eggs surface as each new female crab digs up egg clusters laid by other crabs or as wind-driven waves pound the always-fluid sandy beaches. At least 8,000 red knots slowly get fat on the eggs scattered on New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches.   Both crabs…

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Bird Study, Brazil, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Delaware Bay 2015, Expeditions and Travels, habitat management, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Delaware Bay Shorebird Project Continues for 2015 Season!

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  The value of a shorebird stopover like Delaware Bay can be seen in the shaky cam movie by this author.  Red knots – some recently arrived after a grueling 6,000-mile flight over 6 days of continuous flying – arrive on the Bayshore desperate for food. Over the last 10,000 years, the species has evolved to fly directly to the Bay to feed on the eggs of the horseshoe crab. The 450-million year-old crab – which is actually in the spider family – crawls ashore and lays pin-sized eggs about 6 inches deep in the sand. When there are many crabs,…

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