I’m heading out to scout again: nine sites, ranging in elevation from 3100 to 8600 ft above sea level. Yay!
The second egg, also laid October 4th, hatched last night!
Fair warning: this is not related to bird research at all.
I’ve had pet crested geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) for about four years. They’re great little animals for a busy grad student because they’re low-maintenance, not emotionally needy, and they look like tiny smiling dragons.
Remember those leg bands that we put on birds so we can tell them apart? Getting them on the birds requires some specialized equipment. (Plus a permit! Do not try this at home!)
First, you need bands.
Cattle Egret isn’t sure how to do the dance but he says thank you Adrienne Jensen-Thomas for supporting bird research!
The total junco count for my field site scouting last week was… one. Where were the juncos?
I suspect that they weren’t yet there. Juncos seem to winter at low elevations, then migrate to higher elevations as the weather improves enough to permit breeding. I wasn’t sure exactly when this would happen—that’s why I was scouting. Given that there was frost on the ground, leaves were just emerging from buds, and the bluebirds were collecting nesting material, it doesn’t surprise me that the junco breeding season was not yet in full swing.
This is actually great for me. My field assistants are undergraduates and don’t get out of school for another few weeks. If the juncos haven’t yet arrived, then it looks like by the time they start defending territories, attracting mates, and generally doing interesting things, my field assistants will be free and I’ll be at full researchy strength.
I had seen a male junco foraging with Chipping Sparrows at 5:55 pm two nights previously at this campground; so that evening I staked out the same area 5 – 7:30 pm. I frightened a flock of California Quail, ornate little globes taking off in a whirr at the first sign of me.