Geolocators!

Posted on Jul 4, 2013

The last month has been rather busy, so updating the blog has been put on the backburner. However, there is one piece of news which I can’t keep to myself any longer!

Last weekend my supervisor, Simon Butler, visited France to check up on me (this isn’t the main news, wait for it). We spent the first two nights camping in Roussillon, where our main job was to try and recover the 12 geolocators deployed there last year. Having already caught 3 birds who had lost their priceless devices, I was beginning to lose hope that we’d ever get any data back. In the end, however, we recovered 4 geolocators and, more importantly, successfully downloaded the light intensity data from all 4 devices. A quick & crude analysis suggests that all four birds spent last winter in SW Africa, although they took different routes. It will take much more time to clear out all the noise and get to grips with exactly what’s going on – a task which I’m nevertheless looking forward to! Good news from Latvia too, where our collaborator has already recovered 3 devices. So at least one thesis chapter is taking shape – just the rest to worry about now!

>Here’s a photo of me, enjoying a rare moment of success!

IMG_2209

Christmas came early!

We also deployed some more geolocators – this will hopefully tell us something about how consistent different individuals are between years in terms of where and when they migrate.

A new geolocator deployed

A new geolocator deployed

Simon’s presence also meant that I was able to spend some time in front of the lens, so here are a few photos of me at work.

Checking nestboxes

Checking nestboxes

Camera on a stick

Camera on a stick

Ringing a blue beauty

Ringing a blue beauty

Simon did some work too

Patience

Patience

Another quick trip trip to Roussillon this week resulted in the capture of a few more adults (I now have a nice sample of feathers & nails for stable isotope analysis), the ringing of the first 2 broods of chicks (disgusting creatures – I shouldn’t have worn white) and the deployment of 4 PIT tag readers (I have inevitably given up on our homemade PIT tag readers until next year, but fortunately I was able to borrow a few from Montpellier university). The antennae look something like this.  

PIT tag antennae

PIT tag antenna