Roll up

Posted on Feb 9, 2013

Greetings, and welcome to my new website.

The plan is to provide you with some interesting bits and pieces about the European Roller and the techniques I’ll be using to study them, whilst keeping you up to date on PhD progress (assuming there is any).

I’m currently preparing for my first field season, which will be spent in the south of France, near Arles (just north of the Camargue). I’ll be flying out there in mid April (booking flights is on my to-do list for tomorrow!), which will give me a few weeks to get to know the field site before the Rollers return from the African wintering grounds. As far as I can tell, the site (Vallee des Baux) is a drained marsh used for fairly low intensity farming. A Rocha France have been running a nestbox programme here since the early 2000s, monitoring breeding and ringing adults and chicks. The plan is to do some insect and vegetation surveys to quantify ‘habitat quality’ (in terms of foraging), then to see how the habitat within each territory influences parent foraging decisions, nestling diet and breeding success. In theory, this should give us a good idea of what sort of land uses are ‘good’ for Rollers, allowing us to inform agro-environmental schemes. 

French study site (by S. Butler)

French study site (by S. Butler)

I’ll also be visiting some Rollers further south (near Perpignan), and towards the end of June I’m flying up to Riga, Latvia (the northern limit of the Roller in Europe) which is where I’ll be based for the 2014 breeding season.

Latvian study site (by S. Butler)

Latvian study site (by S. Butler)

Stay tuned for more about the project, including: geolocators, RFID technology and stable isotope analysis.

Anyone questions / feedback / comments / advice, please get in touch!



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