Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer at Chino Farms

Summer interns hard at work! 
Summer has officially begun at Chino Farms! Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory (FBBO) has closed its spring migration banding operation and work on the restored Grasslands has gone into full swing. We welcome our summer interns from the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College: Jeffery Sullivan, Eric Waceiga, and Ian Hall. We also welcome one of our affiliated researchers from UMBC, Dr. Bernard Lohr and his two students Archer Larned and Oliver Mullerklein. This summer promises to be another exciting year of research. Led by Dan Small and Maren Gimpel (field ecologists at CES) the summer breeding ecology study is already generating good data. Many color banded Grasshopper Sparrows from previous years have returned, and Dan is busily banding new Grasshopper Sparrows (GRSPs) who have just arrived. Jeffery Sullivan will be focusing on the breeding Field Sparrows (FISPs) this year in an attempt to get a better understanding of the number of pairs we have and how successful they are at nesting. Eric Waceiga is sweeping the charts with nest finding for GRSPs and the group total is already over 30 nests! Ian Hall has been put on special crop field duty, which means that he will be surveying the surrounding crop fields to get an understanding of how the GRSPs are using those fields as well as the Grasslands.
This summer comes with some exciting new opportunities for research on the Grasslands as well. Former CES summer intern Rachel Field has returned to carry out point counts on the surrounding farms in addition to monitoring the crop fields for GRSPs and surveying the Grasslands to get an understanding of the total number and variety of birds using them. Amanda Spears, a Maryland local attending UVM, has also returned to take charge of FBBO for the summer. Amanda is operating the banding station during the summer months in order to determine what species of birds we have breeding around the banding lab and to get a sense for any birds that FBBO might be missing by closing during the summer months. Amanda has already captured a Blue Winged Warbler and a Mourning Warbler. A very promising start!
Sunrise over the grasslands

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