Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tierra del Fuego: 1/20/08

Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego: 1/20/08

Our Friday morning started by saying goodbye to Sergio and Gabriella, the veterinary students from University of Santo Thomas. Their major professor is Carmen Espoz. Carmen left the night before. We were sorry to see them go; they are hard working intelligent people who are always willing to lend a hand. Now we have a team of 7 people, small but adequate.

Tierra del Fuego

(Carmen with her daughter Antonia.)


While working on the catch of Magellanic Oystercatchers, Ricardo found a new roost for red knot, the oddest one we had ever encountered. Shorebird roosting sites are usually straightforward. Night roosts are usually far away from land and isolated by water to provide a defensible perimeter from ground predators. During the day they choose areas with good visibility to provide reasonable forewarning of approaching birds of prey.


Tierra del Fuego

(Daytime roost of red knots along Bahia Lomas (Photo by Ricardo Matus))


In Bahia Lomas knots and godwits often roost just at the waters edge and roll forward with the advancing tide, until it peaks. Afterwards they move back with the ebbing tide. At Bahia Azul on the Strait they roost on a spit of land between a small river and the sea, and move up and down the slope of the spit. It’s only at the spring tides, those high tides that flood all of the inter-tidal flats, that the shorebirds find the need to roost on the highest ground mostly dominated by two species of salicornia. It is dangerous to be on the salicornia, Patagonian fox patrol it regularly hunting roosting birds.


Tierra del Fuego

(Daytime roost of red knots and Hudsonian Godwits on the edge of salicornia on Bahia Lomas during a spring tide.)


Ricardo found the roost at least a kilometer from the high tide line which is amazing by itself. Even more amazing, nearly the entire population of the west side of Bahia Lomas roosted in one small isolated patch of salicornia. 3,000 red knots sat happily only 100 m from the high ground. The reason was the wind.


Tierra del Fuego

(Knots roosting in salicornia along Bahia Lomas far from the waters edge)


The previous three days a strong wind from the west blew towards the sea. On Wednesday it blew hurricane force. On Thursday the wind fell to a slightly more moderate 40 mph. On our first visit to the site we found small clusters of knot droppings on the lee side of the salicornia clumps. Such places afforded a little shelter and the proximity of the high ground cut the wind more. At the level of the birds there was virtually no wind.


Knowing all this still does not assure a catch. The wind had died down overnight and was now a more modest 20-30 mph which is high but not abnormal for Tierra del Fuego. More importantly we had attempted many catches on salicornia in the past, all failures because it was just too difficult to set the net in the right position and the birds were virtually impossible to move in the right direction. Could we set our net in the right place? Could they be moved without flying far away? Would the birds return now that the wind had slowed; they might prefer to roost along the waterline.


Tierra del Fuego

(Daytime roost along the straits of Magellan at Bahia Azul in 2007)


The team set the net in good time, but it was slow work because we had to hack out a trench for the net in rock hard ground. In the midst of net-setting a small group of godwits and knots flew over our heads swinging around and landing not 200 m from our net. After a chaotic rush to finish setting the net and move equipment, we were ready. In the meantime the 3,000 knot flock had arrived and we began the process of twinkling them into position.


But they wouldn’t move into the catching area in front of the net. This is an area of about 10 x 23 m in to which birds must be induced to go if they are to be caught. Humphrey, Ricardo and I tried repeatedly but the birds would always move from one side of the net to the other, always avoiding the catching area.


Our problem was obvious. To be safe we used very obvious piles of rock to mark the catch area and the danger zone, a 2 meter strip in front of the net that must be clear to avoid hitting birds with the net. We also placed two wooden decoys to draw birds into the area. It was clear that the birds were being put off by the markers and decoys so we removed the decoys and reduced the size of the markers.


Within 20 minutes, we made a catch, a wonderful catch, onefor the records. We caught and processed 201 red knots, and probably caught another 20 or so that made their way out of the net before we could secure it. Although we worked until 11:00 pm processing the catch we went back to camp happy and satisfied because we had met our major objective. Anything else would be gravy.


Tierra del Fuego

(Larry, Steve, Humphrey, Ricardo, Gerry and David processing catch of knots. processing catch of knots ( Photo by Mandy Dey))



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2 Comments:

At February 10, 2008 at 9:08 PM , Blogger K2GW said...

If people want to save the Red Knot, contact the the following members of the Mid Atlantic Marine Fishieries Council and insist on a complete moratorium on Horseshoe Crab harvesting along the Atlantic seaboard:

Patrick H. Augustine
25 Stuart Drive
Coram, NY 11727-1918
631-928-3540

Eugene J. Kray, Ed.D.
325 Staghorn Way
West Chester, PA 19380
610-692-7281

Laurie A. Nolan
PO Box 2124 (Fed Ex: 14 Geneva Court)
Montauk, NY 11954
631-668-4520

Jeffery D. Deem
6701 Newington Rd
Lorton, VA 22079
703-550-9245

W. Peter Jensen
115 Little Neck Rd.
Stevensville, MD 21666
410-643-6882


Lee Anderson
206 Sypherd Dr.
Newark, DE 19711
302-737-3886

Scott Holder
PO Box 12451
Hauppauge, NY 11788
516-840-6522

OTHER VOTING MEMBERS
(Designated State & Federal Officials)


NMFS Regional Administrator
Patricia Kurkul, Regional Administrator
National Marine Fisheries Service
1 Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
978-281-9250
978-281-9371 fax
Pat.Kurkul@noaa.gov


NEW YORK
STATE OFFICIAL
Jim Gilmore, Director
NYSDEC Bureau of Marine Resources
205 Belle Meade Road
E. Setauket, NY 11733
631-444-0430
631-444-0434 fax
jjgilmore@gw.dec.state.ny.us


NEW JERSEY
STATE OFFICIAL
David Chanda, Director
Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife
Dept. of Env. Protection
P.O. Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400
609-292-9410
609-984-1414 fax
dave.chanda@dep.state.nj.us


PENNSYLVANIA
STATE OFFICIAL
Douglas Austen, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
1601 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9299
717-705-7801
717-705-7802 fax


DELAWARE
STATE OFFICIAL
Patrick J. Emory, Director
Division of Fish & Wildlife
Dept. of Nat. Res. & Env. Control
89 Kings Highway
Dover, DE 19901
302-739-5295
302-739-6157 fax


MARYLAND
STATE OFFICIAL
Harley Speir, Acting Director
Maryland DNR, Fisheries Service
Tawes State Office Building
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-260-8264
410-260-8279 fax
hspeir@dnr.state.md.us


VIRGINIA
STATE OFFICIAL
Steven G. Bowman, Commissioner
Marine Resources Commission
2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor
Newport News, VA 23607
757-247-2200
757-247-2020 fax


NORTH CAROLINA
STATE OFFICIAL
Louis Daniel, Ph.D., Director
North Carolina Dept. of Env. and Nat. Res.
Division of Marine Fisheries
PO Box 769
Morehead City, NC 28557
252-726-7021 x101
252-726-0254 fax
louis.daniel@ncmail.net


NON-VOTING MEMBERS

MEMBER
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
Vince O'Shea, Executive Director
ASMFC
1444 Eye Street, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
202-289-6400, ext. 304
202-289-6051 fax
voshea@asmfc.org


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Marvin Moriarty, Acting NE Regional Director
US Fish & Wildlife Service
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035
413-253-8300
413-253-8308 fax

U.S. Coast Guard
RADM Fred M. Rosa
U.S. Coast Guard, 5th District
431 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, VA 23704-5004
757-398-6288
757-398-6289 fax


U.S. Department Of State
Deirdre Warner-Kramer
International Fisheries Officer
Office of Marine Conservation
US Department of State
2201 C Street, NW, Rm. 5806
Washington, DC 20520
202-647-2883
202-736-7350 fax
warner-kramerdm@state.gov


OTHER

NOAA General Counsel
Joel MacDonald
National Marine Fisheries Service
1 Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
978-281-9241
978-281-9389 fax
Joel.G.MacDonald@noaa.gov


New England Liaison

Chosen by Chairman based on MAFMC Agenda


Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Nancy Thompson, Ph.D., Director
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Service
166 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543
508-495-2233
508-495-2232 fax
nancy.thompson@noaa.gov


Edward L. Goldman
51 Natalie Terrrace
Absecon, NJ 08201
609-645-0441

Erling Berg
1231 Lafayette St.
Cape May, NJ 08204
609-884-4784

Richard Robins, Jr
5103 Mariners Cove
Suffolk, VA 23435
757-244-8400

James A. Ruhle, Sr.
PO Box 302 (Fed Ex: 159 Jovers Lane)
Wanchese, NC 27981
252-473-3210

Lawrence W. Simns
Maryland Watermen's Assoc., Inc.
1805A Virginia Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-269-6622

Dennis L. Spitsbergen
207 Hodges Street
Morehead City, NC 28557
252-726-3427









George Darcy, Asst. RA for Sustainable Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
1 Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
978-281-9331
978-281-9135 fax
George.Darcy@noaa.gov



DESIGNEE
Stephen W. Heins, Section Chief, Finfish
NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources
205 Belle Meade Road
E. Setauket, NY 11733
631-444-0436
631-444-0449 fax
swheins@gw.dec.state.ny.us



DESIGNEE
Paul Scarlett
Bureau of Marine Fisheries
Division of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 418
Port Republic, NJ 08241
609-748-2020
paul.scarlett@dep.state.nj.us




DESIGNEE
Leroy Young, Director, Bureau of Fisheries
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
450 Robinson Lane
Bellefonte, PA 16823-9616
814-359-5169
814-359-5153 fax



DESIGNEE
Richard Cole
Division of Fish & Wildlife
Dept. of Nat. Res. & Env. Control
PO Box 330 (Fed Ex: 3002 Bayside Drive)
Little Creek, DE 19961
302-739-4782
302-739-6780 fax
RCole@state.de.us














DESIGNEE
Jack G. Travelstead
Marine Resources Commission
2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor
Newport News, VA 23607
757-247-2200
757-247-8101 fax
jack.travelstead@mrc.virginia.gov



DESIGNEE
Red Munden
North Carolina Dept. of Env. and Nat. Res.
Division of Marine Fisheries
PO Box 769
Morehead City, NC 28557
252-726-7021 x8009
252-726-0254 fax
red.munden@ncmail.net




DESIGNEE

Robert Beal, Director of Interstate Fisheries
ASMFC
1444 Eye Street, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
202-289-6400
202-289-6051 fax
bbeal@asmfc.org



Dr. James Geiger, Asst. Regional Director - Fisheries
US Fish & Wildlife Service
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035
413-253-8300
413-253-8308 fax


LCDR Tim Brown
U.S. Coast Guard, 5th District
431 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, VA 23704-5004
757-398-6266
757-398-6279 fax
timothy.t.brown@uscg.mil



Langdon Barone
International Fisheries Officer
Office of Marine Conservation
US Department of State
2201 C Street, NW, Rm. 5806
Washington, DC 20520
202-647-2883
202-736-7350 fax




NOAA Law Enforcement
Andy Cohen
Special Agent in Charge, Law Enforcement
1 Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
978-281-9213
978-281-9317 fax
Andrew.Cohen@noaa.gov








James Weinberg, PhD
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Service
166 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543
508-495-2352
508-495-2258 fax
james.weinberg@noaa.gov

 
At February 11, 2008 at 10:47 AM , Blogger pinenut said...

I was delighted to learn about your important work last night through the film, Crash. Thank you for all you're doing to understand and protect red knots and the horseshoe crabs they depend on.

 

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