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> August 6, Last day on the Ikpikpuk
Leslie_Pierce
post Aug 9 2005, 07:10 PM
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August 6, 2005
The last day


Our last day on the Ikpikpuk! Bob was hoping to get a few drives in but there was other work that needed to be done as well. ABR needed to finish their nest fate surveys that they began a few weeks ago when Brian and I saw them during our vegetation sampling trip. He and Larry went out to look for birds and came back quickly. They said that there were lots of groups around the Ikpikpuk again. They must have moved in during the last day and night.

We did one banding drive of about 100 birds
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There were many more birds nearby, but there was no more time. New plan: start shuttling people back to Barrow while the weather was still decent. It was cloudy but not too low of a ceiling. Bob, Shook and Jeremy would go with Larry to some islands on the east side of the Ikpikpuk to do the rest of the nest fate surveys.

We began packing up gear and taking down tents. Jeremy and Rita kicked a soccer ball around that had been found out on the mud flats yesterday. Anybody lose a soccer ball? We all wonder “where did it come from?”

Jeremy and Rita kick the soccer ball around.
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It’s also time for group photo shots. Here’s the 2005 banding crew (minus Brian!).
Top row: Me, Larry, Sandy, Bob. Bottom row: Shook, Jeremy, Rita and John Rose.

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Battle scars! Sandy, Rita and Bob show their cuts, scrapes and bruises from the snow geese.
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We began shuttling gear and people back to Barrow. I am on the first trip along with Rita and John Rose. It is with sadness I watch our site as Sandy taxis down the mudflat runway. I hope to be able to come back some day.

Sandy taxis down the "runway"
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I take this shot of the alluvial fan, or the fanlike deposit of sediments, of the Ikpikpuk River delta as we turn towards Barrow.
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We pass over a group of snow geese. I wonder if this is one of the groups we banded.
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We make it back to Barrow, and the satellite dishes that connect this town to the rest of the world. This has been a great trip with a great crew. We banded nearly 1400 snow geese in about four days. The information that will be obtained from recaptured birds and the newly banded birds will help the biologists in determining movements of birds in and out of this breeding colony. As the population continues to grow, it will become increasingly important to monitor the growth and the effect of the snow geese on the habitat.

Barrow to the northwest of the satellite dishes
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Bob and Shook made it back to Barrow just in time for a quick pizza at Northern Lights before a run to the airport to get on their flight back to Fairbanks. Jeremy and Sandy headed east to Deadhorse for another job in that area. Our pilot, Larry, brings back more gear and then prepares for another job doing shorebird surveys beginning tomorrow. I miss being out there already. Still, I hopped into a shower as soon as possible to wash off any creepy crawly bird lice that might have hitchhiked back with me!
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