Saturday, October 13, 2012

July 1 - mosquitoes

This caribou calf was forlornly running around calling for his mother, coming up to us to see if we happened to be family before trotting off once more into the tundra

Well today was another milestone – the first day of mine without finding a shorebird nest since June 10th, 21 days in a row. A pretty sobering testament to how quiet it is around here now. We had a net of -8 nests today, eight more lost to fox predation than were found, bringing us to 102 active nests out of the 275 found throughout the season (39% currently active).
The highlight of today was banding a few phalaropes, only Red-necked and not Red unfortunately, but quite fun to hold and band! It was also just fun to go out with Laura and Alfredo, good company and a good day down in the 7s.

A male Red-necked Phalarope - this one happened to have a very patriotic band color combination

Saw two more wolves today from camp in the scope, we watched them eat a caribou calf carcass – pretty distant but totally awesome. Migration is in the air everywhere, shorebirds and waterbirds alike. Also, I can’t believe I forgot until this late in the entry, but July announced itself in style – with mosquitoes.

A migrant flock of phalaropes on Gull Lake - this flock swelled to almost 200 birds at one point

This morning there were a few around, as there have been, but as it heated up we all started having personal clouds, and I ended up wearing my neckwarmer as a head wrap before long, covering as much skin as possible. By the time we got back to camp we had hundreds surrounding us, and the rest of the day was spent almost exclusively in tents.
Alan killed 155 in the cook tent around dinnertime, and that isn’t counting ones dispatched by others or in other tents, or the fact that it had cooled down and they had mostly vanished – earlier that number could have been hundreds higher! We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Along with the mosquitoes there are also many butterflies around now - like this strikingly patterned sulphur