Back from a quick trip to Massachusetts for the holidays, yesterday we put out our last radio tag of the season. This puts us at about 85 birds caught in total, some of which were just banded, measured and released without a radio. We'll be doing some ground tracking over the next two weeks, but really I only have about seven days of work left here.
Pictures of where I'm working while I'm working are really tough because most of it is in the dark, so here are a couple low light
iPhone pictures that do no justice.
One of the best parts of this job is the chance to see many huge flocks of wintering birds, including shorebirds, sparrows, and waterfowl of all kinds.
This shot is from up in the Sacramento Valley where hunting is big for a reason.
I've had many a cold early morning in my line of work, but the conditions here in Los Banos, CA are reaching extremes as we rise at 3:30am to 20 degree weather, breaking through ice to get to our nets in the wetlands.
Alright, I'm back. I've been computerless in Los Banos, CA for about two weeks now. Working for Point Blue again, I now spend my days in the wetlands of the San Joaquin Valley trapping wintering shorebirds, banding and attaching radio transmitters to them in an attempt to gain a better understanding of their habitat use and needs during this time of their life cycle.
We are specifically targeting Long-billed Dowitchers and Dunlin.
However, there are the occasional peep by-catches, this one being a Western Sandpiper, I believe, though our most common are Least.
As well as this Yellowlegs
The second team of trappers spend most of their time up in the rice fields of the Sacramento Valley, looking a little something like this.