The wind has been great the last two days so we have been seeing a lot of birds and catching a few. The wind also makes it easier for the birds to bounce out of the nets, so we've had a bunch of close calls. Today we caught our first two merlins of the year and I got mine using the bownets which was a first for me. Threw the dove for attention, threw the starling to bring it in, it pounced on the sparrow and I dragged it in at sprang the net.
Each night we've also been attempting to catch nighthawks, for fun. Well, we finally got one last night. They are the strangest birds I've ever seen, hissing at you with their fleshy mouths like the demonic goatsuckers they are.
Yesterday we caught our first hawk. It was an immature female sharp shinned. We didn't actually have much to do with the catching of it, as it flew into the net and may have been there for 10 minutes before we even noticed.
Another day of rain here. Yesterday was our first full day at work. I woke up at 6:30, boiled water for coffee, listened to NPR while looking out of the blind until 11:30 which is when we listen to "Chapter of the day" on WPR, which is currently Bob Dylan's autobiography, I took a break for a run on the trails around the ridge, took a "shower" with a solar shower (cold), sat in the blind until three while listening to NPR, drank a beer, looked out the blind until 6 while listening to NPR, listened to twins game, at 7:30 its dark enough to take away some of the bait birds, but leave out the dove because for some reason nighthawks are intrigued by them, tried to catch nighthawks until 8, shut all the nets down, listened to music in the blind with everyone until 9:30 while reading, went to bed. We saw fewer than 10 hawks, and had one sharp shinned bounce out of our net (which I missed during my half hour absence while running). While it sounds terribly boring (and was), it only gets better from here as the birds start to migrate. We will be catching hundreds of birds, but it takes a bit of waiting.
If anyone is interested in visiting they are more than welcome. The best time to come up and see lots of birds would be the first week or so of October. During that time we'll be getting a variety of hawks during the day (in good numbers) and lots of saw whet owls at night:
Alright, so, in Duluth. We've had a couple of days of set up and are ready to trap some hawks. The only problem is that the hawks don't really start flying for a couple of weeks...and it's raining. So the next couple of weeks we will be having some long boring days of looking into the empty sky, perhaps catching a few birds, but mostly just waiting for september to some. I'll try to put up pictures as they come, but internet is scarce and there won't be much action for awhile.
Here are a couple of pictures of where we're working/living.
This is the back end of the banding blind, with our food stacked up on the shelves
Inside the blind:
I sleep on the left bottom!
My bossman. Chain smokin,' coke and beer drinkin,' no eatin,' hawk wranglin' dude, with an injured merlin brought by:
Tomorrow is my last day of work here in Nevada. It's been a great season. I've enjoyed the work, my housemates and coworkers have been more than I could have asked for, and I've gotten to see a bit of the Southwest. I am ready to leave this heat, but know I'll have to return to explore the many places I wasn't able to visit.
Off to MN.
We had a party a couple of nights ago with the rest of the WIFL crew at their POOL! Good times...
At each beetle monitoring station we have set up large, bright yellow sticky traps which we replace every two weeks. We usually catch a few hundred flies, but today we found that something a little bigger managed to run into it, and kill itself...a yellow breasted chat. This was only yesterday I think.
As a way of monitoring the tamarisk beetles at one of our sites we use a special hemispherical camera lens to take photos of the foliage. With these photos they are able to evaluate changes in foliation. Here are some normal pictures with this lens: