Friday, January 11, 2008

The tribe of lost knots

First, we'd like to thank all of our families, friends, and
wellwishers for the kind words via email. Second, we' d like to
explain our blog/Internet situation to our loyal blog followers.
Though we can read emails from the municipal Internet center, for some
reason, the blogging software was not compatible with the computers we
were using. Our backup was my trusty iPhone, which recieved limited
reception in Tierra del Fuego (though any reception is rather
amazing). We have had to "text" each of our blogs so far.

All that said, we were lucky to catch a close glimpse of a small flock
of knots up close and briefly continue my work on knot foraging
ecology. We have also conducted a comprehensive survey of avian
biodiversity along the Straits of Magellan, in order to better
understand the avian ecology of the region. This is especially
important for gaining a holistic understanding of knot ecology and
conservation in this region.

Tomorrow morning we are heading to Torres del Paine National Park, our
biodiversity reference site to conduct a survey. Unfortunately, the
park lacks mobile phone service, so this is our last live blog from
the field. Keep checking the blog, however when we get back, as we
will be adding new content to the website throughout the winter and
spring until the knots return.

Until then we ask only that all of our readers hope for the best for
our tribe of lost knots.

~~ Dr.Dan et al.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Blog Day 1: Back to the Land of Fire


> Here we are, back in the Land of Fire (A.K.A. Tierra del Fuego),
> after a lengthy and sometimes frustrating journey (thanks to the
> good people at the airlines and customs). Our spirits remain high,
> however, and we are excited for our first Red Knot sightings. High
> tide to day is at 7:19 PM (local time, which is two hours ahead of
> EDT) and that is when we expect to finally get our first opportunity
> to conduct a count of Knots.
> The mayor of the local town, Cerro Sombrero in the Municipality of
> Primavera, has graciously allowed us use of their internet facility
> (from which we are posting this very blog). The town is very
> important to us for several reasons, first being that it is the
> closest and most populated town in the Bahia Lomas region, where
> nearly all Red Knots of the subspecies rufa (our Delaware Bay knots)
> winter. The town is also important because this is where we get
> provisions, gasoline, and water. The town is probably most
> important to us, however, in that the local children are very
> interested in conservation of their local habitats and fauna. They
> will be the Knot stewards of the future so we are working to help
> educate their generation to continue protecting this beautiful yet
> fragile place.
> Keep checking back with us for more updates and to read about this
> year´s very first encounter with Red Knots.
> Ciao,
> The Red Knot Expedition Team

The lost Knots

We have surveyed the northern wintering location on the Patagonian
mainland but to no avail. Where are all the knots? Meanwhile, back at
camp we had a brief moment of excitement as we saw our resident flock
grow slighty, to about 400 knots.

This morning brought a change in the unusually nice (nice, that is,
for Patahonia) weather we have been experiencing. Our cook tent
collapsed in high winds. We were fortunate, though, that while
getting water in town, the mayor let us use a municipal building to
shower and do laundry!

Today's knot survey was shocking and dissapoiting, our resident flock
has now dissapeared. Tomorrow we are off again in search of our lost


Monday, January 7, 2008

Knots on the horizon

Over the past day and a half we have been looking for Red Knots at
their historic locations and at several new locations. We have been
dissapointed to see that at the location where Knots have been for the
past twenty years (and where we have observed them on previous
expeditions), we have found few Knots. There are approximately 125
Red Knots, out of a total flock of approximately 1,750 birds, the rest
being Hudsonian Godwits. Last year we observed much fewer Knots at
this site as well: approximately 2,500.

Today we are on our way across the Straits of Magellan to the site
where the rest of the Knots were found last year by an aerial survey.

Wish us, and the Knots, good luck.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Away we go!!!

The car is packed and we are ready to go!  We arrive in Tierra del Fuego tomorrow night, after about 30 hours of travel (23 hours by plane, 4 hours by car and 1 by ferry).  Be sure to check back then for our first update from the field. 

As a very wise man once said before every adventure, we will "go forth and do good things well."