Glorious Morning

/ 2013-02-19 / 23:32:20

This morning was really beautiful. We got up at around 4 and left for one of the nests that are quite close, in an area that we call Guzman. In Guzman there's just a couple breeding, without helpers, but they are still managing to bring up 3 chicks! We weren't in a rush today, not only because of the small size of the group we caught, but also because we only had to go to one other nest for battery change. It was so nice to sit and watch the valley come to life as the sun rose. The picture doesn't come close to makeing the view justice, but ofc it never does.
I realised the other day that I haven't really explained why the catching gives us so much more work and why it's a problem that we need to catch most of the groups at the same time. I've mentioned that we give markings to both the adults and the chicks. This is because we want to see which chick gets fed most by which adult and if one adult maybe favour one of the chicks. We also install a scale outside the entrance hole and a camera above it so that we can see how much the adults weigh when then come to feed the chicks. As you can understand two cameras and a scale requires quite a lot more power than just one single camera, so to these nests we have to go every day. Which is the reason for the increased workload! We want to record the groups for at least one week and for the camera inside the nest it's important to have a continuous record. If the battery becomes empty and the camera stops recording for a couple of hours it means that we might miss several feedings, and the data gets harder to analyse. So, to the really big problem, we don't have enough camera systems, we have only three scales and we are not able to charge enough batteries! And ofc, we can't be everywhere at once. This results in a lot of the groups being caught much later than prefered and some of the groups get only recorded inside the nest in the beginning. The group in Guzman was the 8th that we've caught so far. Tomorrow we will do another one and then again some day next week, after that it calms down! We have three more nests with eggs, and in two of them the hatching has just begun. The other day I climbed up to one of them to measure the eggs, and on my way up i heard beeping so I realised immediately that the first chick had hatched. But when I got up the chick was still in the egg! You can see on the picture the big crack that it has struggled to make. This day was especially hard, we got up at 3:15 to catch a group that we had to walk for about 1.5 hours to get to, in the darkness. It was a big group we caught that morning, 7 adults and 4 chicks, so it took a long time. Then when we we're done we hade to do the monitoring of all the nests on the northern side! Of course none of us thought to bring food, so when i was climbing this last nest one my way home I hadn't eaten for 10 hours. But this little chick, fighting to get out of it's shell, totally made my day! It was so cool to hear it calling from inside :)

I've tried for an hour now to upload this post with pictures. I'm making one last attempt with only one picture..



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