Sunday, June 21, 2015

Quick Stint at Long Point

Obviously my promise to write every week failed epically...I can't even believe that it's the end of June already!   I will try to catch up as best I can!

Right after our Birdathon, I zoomed right off to Long Point, near Port Rowan, to learn about radio tracking birds.  Unfortunately, we didn't catch too many birds that were able to be tagged, so I was excited to do a little bit of banding while I was there too!  Just some of the birds I was able to get my hands on included Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Blue-winged Warbler (that I'm really sad I didn't get a photo of!), Blue Jays, and others that I took some photos of below:

A beautiful Ovenbird

Wilson's Warbler
A favourite of mine...the Magnolia Warbler
Eastern Kingbird
Mourning Warbler
This fantastic Blue Jay!  We placed him in a kid's hand who was so entertained by it just laying there on it's back!
Along with banding birds, there was of course a never ending supply of nesting Tree Swallows and also House Wrens!  I always love to see them flying about and singing.

It just so happened that while I was visiting there was an alert for a rare bird, a White-faced Ibis!  My labmate and I went for a little jaunt to find these guys and it was surprisingly easier than I imagined!  They were along the side of a pond in a farm field, of course at the furthest point possible!  A nice couple stopped by to also look at them and allowed me to take a closer look through their scope.  

The main point of heading to Long Point was to learn how to apply radio tags and how to use radio trackers and tower to track a bird's movements.  I worked with a few members of Bird Studies Canada and Environment Canada to learn the protocols and how to use the variety of technology that is available.  It was so cool to be able to walk through a forest and pin-point where a bird was!

Since that visit to Long Point we have set up a small side-project focused on telemetry!  We have placed two radio tracking towers at our lakeshore locations.   The landowners have been fantastic in letting us set these things thank you! 

We also have a few handheld radio trackers that we are using.  Stations have been set up around the area I have deployed tags on the birds and we hope to see where they are foraging and perhaps even how they are migrating from the area (eg. where they roost, timing of fall migration, and where they go in the early stages of migration). Unfortunately our tags only last about a month, so fingers crossed they last long enough to get all of this!

Assistants conducting telemetry and insect count surveys.

First Bank Swallow to be Radio Tagged!