The last day before leaving for a fieldtrip is always a bit chaotic. All the equipment has (hopefully) been found and put in different piles in preparation for the final packing. Still you can’t help but worry that you’ve forgotten something important...
The next battle is to minimise the weight without having to compromise too much about what to bring. When it comes to fieldwork, all the necessary gear for the project in question of course has to be prioritised. It is still nice, though, to be able to bring at least one change of clothes and maybe a book or some craft as well (I find it a great relaxation to work with my hands).
The present project will take me to the island of Disko on the west coast of Greenland. Last year 28 Greenland wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa) were equipped with geolocators that store light information. This information can be used to draw conclusions about where the birds have been and which routes they have travelled during migration. Geolocators are fantastic devices that already have generated several interesting papers and surely will continue to do so also in the near future. The only drawback is that you have to get the geolocators back in order to download the light information. This could potentially be both hard and time-consuming work.
So, tomorrow three field assistants and I will set off to Disko to do our best to relocate and recapture the birds and retrieve the geolocators that Adam Seward (PhD-student at Cardiff University) fitted last summer. We have one month, 29 traps, six boxes of worms and all our fingers crossed.
Wish us luck!