The 2016 arctic field season is officially underway! In the podcast below, Stephen Brown, Vice President of Shorebird Conservation, speaks from his camp in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Brown and his crew are conducting a two-year survey of the refuge—the largest survey of breeding shorebirds ever attempted.
Hello, this is Stephen Brown, reporting from the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Welcome to the 2016 season of the shorebird recovery program science program.
We are delighted to have you with us and we are delighted to be here—back in the arctic conducting the work to support the shorebirds.
It’s the evening of May 15, late at night. So it is already tomorrow back home where I live in Vermont and where many of you are on the East Coast. We have many different crews surveying this year, so the science blog is going to be a very exciting website. There are now three helicopter crews underway, surveying part of the vast Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
None of that would have been possible without the amazing support from our Manomet donors, along with our grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We are grateful for your support.
And a quick overview of what you can expect this season:
We are just starting out, a very busy start getting ready. You probably read a post from Brad who is just back from Georgia and his work on Red Knots. So it was a full court press to get everyone ready and trained and geared and here.
Very soon there will be a post from Metta, who has been conducting the camp organization and planning and logistics—all of the things it takes to get us here, some of the pictures of us in transit and what it was like as we arrived.
Later on this summer, you will be hearing from Alan Kneidel from one of the crews in the central part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. And he will also be recording later on in the summer from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where he is participating in a new project with geolocators this summer.
You will also hear later on from Lindall and Andy, who are our crew here at Boot Lake in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. They are conducting our intensive surveys which we will explain later on in a post.
So it will be a busy season and we hope you look forward to hearing all of these posts and updates and seeing our pictures.
The birds arrived early with a warm spring and the weather couldn’t be more different than what we had last year. Last year, we surveyed almost every day in driving rain, mostly sideways.
And this time we were greeted with a beautiful clear sky and a beautiful sunny day. And, because there is always a new wrinkle in the arctic, very high winds.
We set up camp yesterday with sustained winds in the 25-28 range and gusts at 30. So if you imagine putting up a tent that’s seven feet high and 12 by 12, in gusts of 30 miles an hour, you can get an idea of the challenges we had.
But we are delighted that we are getting a break from the rain this year and maybe a slightly easier survey. It’s always more helpful when the wind is quiet and today is it down to a normal 15 or so, which is very calm for here and much easier to hear what the birds are doing.
So stay tuned for all these updates and we hope you enjoy hearing our live updates from the field. This is Stephen Brown reporting live from the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.