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> Aug 3, More banding!
post Aug 5 2005, 09:07 PM
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TREC Teacher

Group: TREC Team
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August 3, 2005

This morning was a little foggy. When it finally lifted, we started a banding drive while Sandy flew to Barrow. He brought back Rita Acker and two people from the New York Times. Felicity Barringer, the reporter, and Jim Wilson, the photographer, are doing a story on this area, the wildlife and the oil and gas exploration. It was a great day for taking pictures and I think they enjoyed watching the action and even helping carry some birds! They helped us finish up a large drive of over 300 birds and we did one more drive of over 200 birds.

A lot of geese in the pot!
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Me in front of the pot.
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John Shook herds geese in the pot. The goal is to split off a small group of birds into an inner smaller pot for easier handling.
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Shook closes the inner small pot with a few birds.
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Here's a better look at the inner pot.
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John Rose handing geese to those of us carrying the geese to the banders.
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The last goose in each drive was not banded but released as good luck for the next band. The person releasing the bird had to talk to it so it would convince more birds to allow us to catch them. Got to have some fun, too!
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After Shook released the last goose, he bid the whole group a good migration!
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In the evening, Sandy, Brian and Shook flew off to take aerial photographs of transects throughout the Ikpikpuk Delta. These photographs will be matched up with information obtained from the ground to estimate the amount of grubbing, grazing, and devegetation of the habitat. Larry took Bob, Jeremy and John Rose to the east side of the delta to do some snow goose nest surveys. They came back and had only found three nests.

The weather was beautiful most of the day, a little buggy, but a slight breeze helping now and then. We did watch a bunch of caribou off in the distance running to the north. They were probably trying to escape the mosquitoes or other insects, such as warble flies and bot flies. The sun was shining most of the day and we could actually work without jackets, although that means more mosquito bites and scratches from the sharp claws on the snow geese’s feet. Getting grabbed and tweaked by the geese’s beaks is not fun either, leaving a small bruised welt, but I learned to be wary of their heads and feet. It did get a chillier towards the evening but I didn’t feel cold in my sleeping bag so it was a much nicer night than the one before.

This has been a great day and it was interesting getting to know the banding crew. Bob Ritchie, owner of ABR (his company that does biological contract work) and cofounder 27 years ago, has been doing this snow goose banding work for the last dozen years or so. He has great stories and jokes! John Rose and John Shook, who both work for ABR, have quite a bit of experience doing field work with birds and other animals. Rose has worked for ABR for 21 years working on bird, fish and large mammal projects while Shook has worked for them the last half a dozen years. Jeremy Maguire, an ABR intern, is a Wildlife Biology student at University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Sandy Hamilton and Larry Larrivee have both been flying in Alaska since the late 1960’s and have many stories themselves! They are both very experienced pilots and know quite a bit about the wildlife in Alaska.

Here's Larry with a white phase snow goose.
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The North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management contracts this work out to ABR and also brings some of their own people to help with the banding. Brian Person is here with his wealth of experience with geese and geese banding. He’s hoping to get some data on snow goose gosling and adult size variation from the measurements that they have been taking. Rita Acker works for DWM and assists on several different research projects. She’s a Barrow High School graduate and is working towards a degree in biology.

Here's Rita recording data.
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I feel very lucky to be able to come along this year to help! This is a great crew of people that really enjoy their work.
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