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2000 Arctic Search for the Red Knot
July 3, 2000

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An arctic wind blew all day yesterday and we were unprepared. Several tents came down altogether, the cooking tent almost came down. It took most of the team to shore it up with a new 2"x4", some rocks and rope. The wind blew continuously at 30-40 mph but gusted higher pushing a cold biting rain that made us miserable for the entire day and night. By morning the rain has stopped but a somewhat slower wind continued throughout the day.

Graciela sits at one of our new nests. By the evening of the third we had found three new knot nests putting our total up to five nests. We've reached a critical point because now it's feasible for us to devote some time to nest habitat and behavior studies. Tomorrow Mark, Graciela and Nancy will attach transmitters to one of the adults on each of the five nests. This will allow us to begin several small studies, one to determine the incubation period, another to study the habitat of the non-incubating adult.

Rick's maps, derived from satellite imagery, are a big asset for our study. We have both hard copies (here's Mandy holding one) and computer files that will allow us perform some analyses here in the field.

This is our 5th nest, located by Bruce. We were amazed that he found it at all, considering it can hardly be seen it even when you know it's there.

We have found Golden Plovers at 3 of the 5 nests. We suspect they might act as sentinels for a number of Arctic nesters including the Red Knot.

Johnny Alogut and Larry Niles traveled over 20 km to Cape Low where we found our only instrumented bird. The trip by ATV took about 4 hours through mostly barren tundra laced with a myriad small rivers, wetlands and lakes. We searched the area for a few hours, but the bird was no longer there. This is actually good news because we know the transmitter is still attached. We will search for it when we continue our aerial search tomorrow. While traveling we saw over 50 caribou, 2 snowy owls and 5 pairs of long-tailed jaegers.
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