North Carolina field work, part 1: green, green

IMG_6710

We have ten days in North Carolina to get DNA samples from three species breeding there. Our target for the first five days is the Kentucky Warbler, a golden bird with a black mask whose population is declining. It is a highly local bird, meaning that we can’t just find them anywhere within the shaded region of a large-scale range map: we need specific location information. We get this information from eBird, following birders’ reported sightings to a place about an hour south of Raleigh called Howell Woods.

“How did y’all find us?” asks the manager of Howell Woods. “There’s folks on our road that don’t know we exist, but somehow we get birders from Europe asking about Kentucky Warbler and Mississippi Kite. I never understand it.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Bugs of the field 2014: dragonflies & spiders

Whoops – I forgot to post these for a while. Here are some photos from last summer of dragonflies and spiders: charismatic, often beautiful, and highly-effective hunters that make me glad I am much bigger than they are.

Male white-faced meadowhawk

Male white-faced meadowhawk

2014bugs_dragonfly3

Continue reading

Scouting: snow, fog, and little red spiders

I’m switching up my field sites a bit this year, using some from 2012 but also adding new ones. I’ve known the general area where they would go, but this week I went scouting the area to figure out exactly where I’ll be observing juncos this summer. Here are the highlights, in photograph form. (The quality of the animal photos isn’t great because I brought my taking-pictures-of-mountains camera instead of my taking-pictures-of-birds camera.)

scout_snow+tree

Continue reading

Non-birds of the field I: invertebrates

From most of the pictures on this blog, you might think that the only animals we saw this summer were the ones that flew into our nets. Not so!

Big red fuzzy moth

Of course, whether I can identify these non-birds is a different matter entirely. If you see anything you recognize, please comment and let me know what these exoskeleton-clad creatures are.

Continue reading