Bird Work at Base Camp and Buenos Aires

Field Report #4
Location: Buenos Aires

June 18 – Day 13 – Did first point count on my own. Well, with two of the three new birders and four uni students. Went really well. Positive feedback all around and I could identify most birds.

June 19-21 – Did demo banding near camp while Kate conducted the point counts. Owled at night.

June 23 – Day 18 – Departed Base Camp for the first time since arrival. Headed to Buenos Aires (closest town) to work there for the week.

June 24 – Day 19 – Walked around town looking for a place to do mist-netting. Very limited options. Town is very steep.

June 27-29 – Days 22-24 – Power is out for the entire town due to a blown transformer. Radios are running off a car battery. Limited availability to do work outside of town.

June 29 – Day 24 – Very productive day. Attempted to find a missed subsite for a transect (fail), but we made it work. Realized our earlier discovered mystery bird nest had nestlings. Birded around town with Chip. Spent the afternoon observing the nest of the Bright-rumped Antilla. Photos once my camera isn’t packed away. Did more investigations. Found two more probable sites for nocturnal surveying, but a severe thunderstorm prevented that from happening.

June 30 – Day 25 – Finished our work in BA this morning with a final point count along Transect 1. Then pitched in with Habitat surveying. Stopped around 11 at an amazing lilac tree. We ended up sending Habitat and the guide back when they got bored at staring at all the hummingbirds. We opted for hummingbirds over lunch, but recognized not everyone would share our stance. We got 11 identifiable species of hummingbird and one more we need to work out the identification for. All in one tree.

July 1 – Day 26 – Data entry in the morning, then heading off to satellite camp, Guanales, today after lunch. Apparently there are lekking Red-capped Manakins there!

Returning to my Roots

My first serious birding endeavor took place in Arizona a decade ago.  I was part of a research team based out of University of Arizona working with the Band-tailed Pigeon. Several years later, I returned briefly to the state to visit family and see more of its natural wonder, so as I sit with my bags packed ready to return, I figured I’d pull a few photos out of the archives.

Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

I’m headed out to the Tucson region tomorrow for a family wedding.  Afterwards I’m staying for a few extra days to get some birding in.  Have done some research, but haven’t entirely made up my mind where I’m going yet other than in the Tucson region since that’s where I’ll be.

Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

Anna’s Hummingbird mid-flight. Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

Unfortunately in my previous visits to the state, I didn’t keep records for myself so all I have are the fragments of memories 10 years old.  That and a few really poor quality photos.

Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

Ubiquitous vultures enjoying the late day thermals as I depart Sedona. Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

However, that’s all about to change.  When I return I will at least have better lists, if not better quality photos.

Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

I don’t recall the context of this particular photo, but I like it nonetheless. Margs Draw, Sedona, AZ. Photo taken April 17, 2010.

Publishing Progress!

I’ve made progress!

As mentioned in my bio, I’m  a graduate student within the Biology Department at Montclair State University.  I’ve been working under Dr. Smallwood for four seasons.  Dr. Smallwood’s, and subsequently my research, has focused on the American Kestrel. Monitoring breeding populations in New Jersey has lead to the Kestrel’s recent reclassification as a Threatened Species.

On Monday, I submitted my data.  This afternoon we met to discuss next steps.   I’m headed back into the data to look more closely at what my results do and don’t suggest, which shouldn’t take too long…. (yeah…).

Then it’s write the first draft of my paper and present findings into my newly forming “thesis” committee.   I say “thesis” because I’m not doing a traditional thesis where the committee is established prior to data collection and there’s a long-winded paper that will eventually gather dust in the university library system.  Instead, I’ll be writing a paper intended for publication.

Goal is to present in March or April.  Write/edit manuscript during the summer. Not to mention work and taking four classes this semester.  Totally manageable.

Weighing American Kestrel nestlings. 2010. Photo by Barb Gilbert.

Weighing American Kestrel nestlings. 2010. Photo by Barb Gilbert.

Banding and Tagging adult American Kestrels. 2010. Photo by Barb Gilbert.

Banding and tagging adult American Kestrels. 2010. Photo by Barb Gilbert.