Monday, June 28, 2010

University of Washington Research Station Outing

The above photo is of Dan Schindler, head of the Aleknagic research station, near Dillingham. This University of Washington station has been in existence since 1946. Nick in his posting "What makes a good coach" summarizes the findings about the sockeye population in the Aleknagic system.
Dan's wife, Laura Payne, is an ornithologist. She is studying the population of wood swallows that migrate every summer from southern California to this site to reproduce. This photo, shown together with Laura and Dan's six year old daughter Luna, is of several one day swallow chicks.

Here Laura is examining a green sided flycatcher chick that was found in one of the swallow's nest boxes.

Here is another photo of the flycatcher chick.

These are four very hungry swallow chicks. After Laura has trimmed a bit of toe nail from each chick (to facilitate identification if they are caught in adulthood, she puts them back in the nest. The nests are boxes that Laura built and mounted in trees in a meadow near the University of Washington's Lake Nerka site (part of the Aleknagik system). One opens the side of the box by unscrewing it, and the chicks and adults are there. By plugging the entrance hole to the box when the chicks are out, the parents can't tell they are gone, and will not abandon the nest. When the chicks are returned, the plug is pulled from the hole in the box, and invariably one or both parents is back inside within a minute.

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