The worldwide Augustana College experience

Greenland (week4)

After our trip to Booth Sound, we returned home and Kurt greeted us with great news. Our new boat motors were on their way! This meant that we can go out to different locations again! We had been stuck on base and sampling local birds for the past few days.  When the motors came in on Wednesday, we spent the whole day hooking them up and securing them to the boat.  You could tell how excited everyone was about them, not to mention they were even bigger than the last ones!

July 23, 2010.  The weather cleared up and we headed out to a location called Parker Snow Bay.  The new engines ran great!  Along the way to our location we caught some Northern Fulmars, which we haven’t processed before.  They have really interesting beaks because they have a snorkel type of appendage on them.  I am told that it isn’t a snorkel but thats what they look like.   After the Fulmars, we scoped out a Gyrfalcon nest nearby the bay.  We collected feather samples and whatever prey remains were around the bottom of the cliff.  The plan for tomorrow is going to be trying to catch some Thick-billed Murres and Kittiwakes.

July 24, 2010.   We woke up to rain this morning  which is always abit frustrating when you are out in the field.  All we could do was wait it out until it was calm enough to take the boat out.  Today was a big day for me in terms of field work.  I got to bleed and process my first bird today!  It was a Thick-billed Murre and it went very smoothly.  I have had a few weeks now observing how it is all done and what steady hand you need to take blood samples.  I was very excited that I did everything correct while processing it.   After getting as many samples as we could at the one Murre colony, we moved on to look for more Gyrfalcon nests.  We spotted two!    Tomorrow we are going to focus mainly on Dovekies, which are a smaller bird that are found n huge numbers; like millions flying together!

July 25, 2010.   We left our camp-site today to move over to a new location, Green Valley.  This is where the Dovekie colonies are.  Once camp was all set up we starting to sample these birds immediately on the hillside across from our tents.  We caught and processed Dovekies for a few hours.  We processed a total of 15 Dovekies today.

Dr. Burnham and I catching Dovekies at Green Valley

July 26, 2010.  Jeff and I didn’t go to sleep last night because we were wanting to keep catching Dovekies on the hillside.  Our tally for the day was up to 37 Dovekies before the weather started t turn and Kurt and Dr. Burnham took the boat back to base.  Bridger, Jeff, and myself stayed to continue gathering data.  We reached our goal of at least 50 bird samples by the late afternoon.  We saw a lot of really interesting things once we walked around a bit.  We saw herds of Musk Ox roaming the valley, Arctic Fox playing with each other, and we hiked 2 hours to where the Danish bird scientists were camping out. We met them a few days before our trip out here.  They were also doing studies with, but in their location there were millions of Dovekies flying around.  it was an unbelievable thing to see.  Bridger found a new Gyrfalcon nest!  While we went down to the valley where the Danish scientists were, he stayed up top and scoured the mountain sides and it worked!

July 27, 2010.  We returned from our trip today.  We left green valley and then stopped by an Island not to far away to sample some more Puffins and Guillemots.    We got 5 more Puffins!  I love catching these things because they are just so exotic looking and fun to observe.

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