It’s been a few weeks now since I made it back from a winter trip to Sable… but first here’s a little catchup on our August trip in 2013.
Continuing with her Master’s thesis work, Zoe was anxious to get back to Sable and resume her tracking of Ipswich Sparrows. She’s studying the timing and routes of Ipswich migrations from the island to the mainland. Our goal this trip was to deploy 64 miniature radio-tags, half on adult sparrows and the others on juveniles, to compare the migration strategies between experienced and first time migrants. Same drill as last year but this time more automated receiver towers are scattered along the Nova Scotia coastline and the Gulf of Maine so we can better track their movements.
Over the past two years, Zoe has become a master at catching, tagging and banding Ipswich Sparrows. That means it’s my turn to be the assistant so I stay out of the way and do what I’m told! We also brought Holly, her first trip to Sable, and Sarah, a veteran of winter trips but her first summer visit to the island. She was pleased to see that winter balaclavas are replaced with tank tops during summers on Sable.
Just another day at the office on Sable Island. We checked on our automated receiver stations, deployed some radio-tags on Great Black-backed Gulls, and counted terns at the tips of the island. Oh, and of course we deployed all our Ipswich radio-tags…well all but one which wouldn’t turn on.
As always the trip was fun and awe inspiring, but this time a little bitter sweet too. Since our project is wrapping up this year, this was our last major field trip to tag birds on the island. Now it’s time to sit at the computers all winter crunching numbers and writing up results. In time I’ll start posting some results of our work on this blog so stay tuned. And there’s always hope for some follow-up studies that might bring us back here next year!
In the mean time, here are a few more of my favourite pictures from the summer season.