Friday, March 4, 2016

El Garrapatero Scouting

Today we decided to scouting the different sites we were planning on sampling at around EG. We headed to the beach first before the tourists get there, and we found a nice place that was away from where the tourists would be, but where finches appeared to be abundant. 

We also ran into a dead shark on the beach. It appeared freshly dead, but there were no visible injuries, and it had all of its fins. We don't know how it got there, but we're pretty sure scavengers would get to it quite quickly. 

While we were walking, we ran into Team TickEaters: Sabrina, Ashley, and Angela. They mentioned that it had rained at EG, but nothing like what we had in town to days ago. Unfortunately, that means there hasn't been enough rain to trigger breeding for the finches (or the mockingbirds). 

Near our pick-up point, we found the remains of an owl. The skeleton was still intact, and there was some mummified flesh and tendon on the skeleton, as well as some feathers still attached.

That evening, Sarah and I prepped the supplies we would need for the first day of sampling. We found solid wire mesh and made little cages to go over the weigh boats. This prevents the birds from hopping around in their own poop once they have pooped. The idea is we want the poop, but we didn't want the finches to jump around in their own poop. If they did this, any bacteria on their feathers or from where they had been would contaminate the poop sample. We're in interested in the gut microbiome, so we want as clean a sample as possible.7

Off to the field tomorrow!!!

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