Written on May 5th:
Yesterday we did mist netting in the morning. Mist netting is a way of catching wild birds by setting up huge nets between posts around a nest box site and waiting until a dumb bird flies into the net and is caught. The bird is then retrieved and different measurements are taken (if it lacks a band we put one on, too). It basically involves people standing around the site watching the nets until we see a bird get caught. Then we shout "bird" and there's lots of excitement for a few minutes and then we go back to watching the nets. It involves a lot of standing in one place and staring at a net for long periods of time, which I found out can be quite good at inducing sleep. At one point I literally fell asleep standing up until Efrain called my name three times to wake me up. Thankfully, we're not doing mist netting at Long Point. Bonus: the first swallow egg was found yesterday, and since they don't want to catch birds who are laying, today was the last day of mist netting.
Then we went to the Cornell Lab
of Ornithology to meet the people involved with the project and see the Lab. It is an amazing facility. It has huge windows which overlook a bird feeding area and a large pond, and each area is set up with a spotting scope for bird watching. While we were there there was a massive thunderstorm that turned into a hail storm. It was the closest Efrain has come to seeing snow.
We spent the afternoon doing nest box checks at The Ponds (where we do mist netting). First we did the land checks, during which I was confronted by a male goose protecting his nest, which was right below a nest box. I threw large rocks at him but he still won. 😞
Later I went out in a canoe to do some nest box checks on the lake at The Ponds. It was a little more difficult, but fun. On the way to the canoes I caught a Northern Brown Snake. Near the end of the checks I saw the Osprey that has been frequenting the area flying close by, but very high up. I had a great view for about 30 seconds. It was pretty magnificent.
Later we saw it far away and even higher in the sky, seemingly among the clouds.
Written May 6th:
On May 5th we did some more mist netting in the morning. I practiced taking a blood sample from a female Red-winged Blackbird that we caught and banding on twigs. The afternoon was spent learning more protocols we have to do at Long Point. There was a Barred Owl heard in the Sapsucker Woods, so I took a slow walk from the Lab to the Golo House through the woods. I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk, two Turkey Vultures flying right over the tree tops, and a female Hairy Woodpecker.
In the evening the House celebrated Cinqo de Mayo by making tacos (with corn tortillas made from scratch) and drinking margaritas. It was fun.
This morning the researcher who works at The Ponds site who we get up early to help out slept in (I wonder why...) to we just went to do nest box checks at eight. I went out in a canoe with Nadine and we took the farthest section of the lake. We had two hours to do our section, and we spent
View from the stairs going towards the main entrance.
the first hour trying to get the canoe through really shallow water to the first three nest boxes. After that we admitted defeat and went around the lake to entered at the other end of our section and did most of the boxes. I found my first swallow egg, which was very exciting.
The rest of today involved learning data entry and protocols, and going to Wegmans to pick something up for a potluck dinner hosted by the professor leading the Golondrinas project.
It is really hard finding the time to write an entry and upload pictures. Also, doing so much each day makes yesterday morning and afternoon feel like they happened years ago and I only have a vague idea what I did then.
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