Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Chick banding has begun!

For the last couple of weeks, work has consisted of ninja-style nest finding, 8 hours daily on the cold tundra. Now, the shorebird eggs are hatching, so we’re on a race to band the birds, measuring them, sampling blood, etc. Its unbelievably cool! Same plots, same flat wet scenary, but now we’re handling cute little chicks, puff balls with giant legs, sneaking around the tussocks from swooping jaegers and gulls. We do it round the clock, returning to nests in the evenings, checking the hatching progress to nab ‘em before they run to far from the nests.

Otherwise, life goes on pleasantly among the crew. We’re a good group, no major dramas, quarrels (minus one broken heart). Lets you forget all about the fall, and whatever the heck I’ll do.

 Today is also Canada Day. Among the Americans, I’m instead looking forward instead to the 4th of July and their wacky North Slope festivities: races, nailing competitions, beauty pagents, and perhaps our first polar bear swim! The ice broke up, but it’s the cold wind that’ll burn the most. If there were trees in the tundra, we might make a beach bonfire.

 And now for an interesting shorebird fact: shorebirds spend 70% of their life migrating! 15% of there time they are on the breeding grounds, finding their mate, building a suitable nest and finding a territory, incubating eggs, and protecting the hatchlings for a couple weeks until they themselves can make the 5000 km journey to the wintering grounds, wherever in the world that might be

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