Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bird banding in Juodkrantė

Where do I start...
I went off to Juodkrantė for a few days as a volunteer to help ornithologists to band birds.
It started with re-sizing the new Rybachy type trap. It is 100 meters long and 15 meters high, situated by the Baltic sea.
A group of people had to make it narrower. Lots of hand work-sewing back separated parts of the net. 

We also replaced the old net of the trap box with a new one. All the birds get stuck in the box at the end of the trap where they can be safely removed for banding.
The sea is right behind these dunes.
Driven by instinct birds fly straight forward, guided by the walls of the trap and end up at the narrowest end of it. A double trap system doesn't allow them to escape the way they flew in. The method is almost identical to the one, used in fish traps. Actually , this kind of bird trap originated from fish trapping.
While we spend 2 days around the trap a huge amount of insects got trapped. Mostly bee-like flies, dragon flies and butterflies.One could hear them few meters away. Most of them were released :-)

Ornithologist Vytautas Pareigis. 
We watched birds, airplanes and the full moon through his telescope. Remember, I wrote before, I had no luck at the Molėtai observatory? Well, this time I could see the face of the Moon very clearly!
Later I had an opportunity to witness bird trapping with the help of the mist nets. That's totally another story. Rather stressful activity both for the bird and the person who's untangling the bird.
 A robin (Erithacus rubecula, liet. liepsnelė). I managed to untangle two of these. And I saw one even entangled with it's tongue! I will illustrate this in one of the  upcoming posts.
A Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva, liet. mažoji musinukė). A rear catch.
 The mist nets were situated along The Curonian Lagoon. Some in the reed and a couple in the forest near by.

I must tell You I fell into the mud in the reed. I was walking alone along the net, checking for birds, when one board of the bridge fell down under my foot. One foot was still on another wooden board, while the othe leg went into the mud up to my groin. And my teeth got entangled in the net at the same time. I remember biting off a little piece of it. I got out in seconds (my shoe didn't get stuck-amazing!). I have stirred up some mud-man it was smelly! My fingers were really painful after a moment. I don't remember, but I think I was clinging on to the boards as a drowning person would. I haven't reached the bottom with my foot. I don't want to know what would have happened if I had ended up with both legs in the mud...
I have a sketch of this incident. I think I'll post it here soon.
 7.30 am

Banding the birds:

 Robin's slender legs with a ring on. Robins were the most common bird in the nets.
 A blackcap's female (Sylvia atricapilla, liet. juodagalvė devynbalsė).
 A winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes, liet. karetaitė).
 A Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva, liet. mažoji musinukė).A young bird.
 Ornithologist Vytautas Pareigis measuring the weight of a robin.
 Around 17 grams usually...
 Big eyed, long legged, quiet robin.
A song thrush (Turdus philomelos, liet. strazdas giesmininkas) waiting for his turn.
Tere were more birds banded: a blue tit (Parus caeruleus, liet. mėlynoji zylė). The tits are the most ferocious little birds. Very agressive despite of the size.
And there were a Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus, liet. mažoji krakšlė)and a Sedge Warbler ( Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, liet. ežerinė nendrinukė) I had an opportunity to see up close...

This is a chart of fat and breast muscle. Ornithologists blow on the bird's belly, to see what's under there. Somewhat comical.

That's about it. 
And a couple more of bird photos. Out of nets...
 An albino duck. A mallard, I think. I saw another one in Sweden. Could it be the same!?
 The bridge of the seagulls. Strange enough the bridge was gone the next day...
A cormoran drying it's wings.

1 comment:

Akvilina said...

Va cia tai nuotykis!! Kaip pavydziu!