Sunday, May 1, 2016

Week Ending 1 May 2016

Two big events this week. The first is that Miss 21 has departed on her long awaited OE - a working holiday in England. After 31 hours of travelling (not all of it smooth  - a couple of her flights were plagued by turbulence and on  one of them an alarm went off, all the emergency exit signs started flashing, all the other cabin lights went out and the cabin crew were clearly panicked!) she arrived safely in London where she'll spend a week before moving to her job in a small village in Surrey. Meanwhile I'm adjusting to a quieter house, finding out what she is doing by means of her blog instead of an  actual chat, and having to clean the toilet again (Miss 21 has done this job for at least 7 years)! She'll be gone for a minium of six months - possibly considerably longer.

The other event also involved a trip to the airport - arrivals not departures this time. Miss 15 is back from her youth bird camp. Apparently she had a great time and found the camp featured a good mix of activities, with a chance to practice old skills as well as learn some new ones.

Mist netting and banding was her favourite activity. She loves the hands-on work. This is her third time banding and she said she noticed her previous experience paying off. Not only did she feel more confident but she was permitted to do more than on previous occasions. This time the camp kept records of their banding work so it will count towards her possibly earning a banding qualification in the future. Not a lot of banding traditionally happens in our part of the country so she was excited when the banding instructor was from this area, mentioned that he was going to apply for a banding permit and asked Miss 15 if she would be keen to get involved. Obviously the answer was yes! She's really hoping this project goes ahead.

They were given specific instruction on the band reading and reporting process. One point in banding birds is to learn about their behaviours, lifespan and movements etc and that is only possible if people report any sightings of banded birds. Some decoys were installed on the campsite to facilitate practise but they did spot some real banded birds in the field as well.

There was also a lot of learning about bird anatomy. A vet nurse dissected two different specimens for them, which allowed for some useful comparisons. Not necessarily a favourite activity - the sound of the bones crunching bought unfortunate flashbacks of her own broken bones a few years ago - but very educational.

Camp participants also got involved in a public education campaign. They contributed to the ongoing creation of  a large flock of  migratory shorebirds - both realistic and fantastical. Once completed the flock will be moved to different roosting sites and draw attention to these birds, their unique needs and the problems which they face.

There was of course an awful lot of actual bird watching. The teens participated in two specific bird surveys, designed to monitor the populations of particular species  as well as practising their identification and counting skills on more general birding outings. Overall Miss 15 added sixteen new species to her year list, four of which were additions to her life list as well.

A Marsh sandpiper and a New Zealand dotterel - seen before but new for 2016.

Pomarine skua, Spotted dove, Black-tailed godwit and North Island kokao - all additions to Miss 15's life list.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That sounds like an amazing camp! My boys are eager to learn all about bird banding (a class we plan on taking with our homeschool group got postponed so we have to wait). Sounds like she had a great time.