Friday, November 23, 2012

Dr. Ponder's Pinzón Journal Entry #10

Things are quieting down here and settling in. All the birds are eating except one that was just admitted today.  Most are pretty settled, especially the youngsters. A few are still a bit jumpy, so working to get them quieter.

Although I know there will be on-going maintenance, I finally got the right number of perches (for now) in each enclosure. We had to unwrap the original perches, which were wrapped with 3-strand sisal, then split the strands to get spare rope. Worked well and we now have a rope-wrapped perch and a natural branch perch in each enclosure. As much as I have worked with these birds, they still amaze me. I went into one enclosure to put up a spare perch, which was designed to sit perpendicular to the original perch. Two hawks were perched exactly where I wanted to place the new one, so I tried to gently encourage one to move by sliding the perch toward her. She didn't move even when the perch touched her. Tried to get her to step over it - no luck. Given that she was so relaxed and curious, I finally lifted the perch up and over her head and placed it between the two birds. Never moved, but watched curiously the whole time. And this was an adult, not a juvie!

After 12 days on the boat/island, I finally found time to sneak in a swim yesterday. What a wonderful treat for all the hard work! Saw white tipped tintoreras (placid sharks), green sea turtles, a penguin, sea lions (breeding season - lots of pups on the "beach") and a plethora of colorful salt water fish (which I am totally incapable of identifying).

Probably getting a bit of a prima donna reputation. Last week, I asked for the "cold hard water" (ice) that we had prepared to use as a cooler for blood samples. Segundo, one of my favorite Ecuadorians, immediately indicated that he understood - one of the other workers pointed to the water jug with drinking water, but Segundo replied "no" and headed off to the boat for me. I thought he understood until he came back with a jug of cold water and a cup for me. Oops - wasn't asking for cold water just for me. Wrapped a towel around the jug to use as a cooler temporarily, but I think the other Ecuadorians just thought I wanted cold water to drink.

For now, we are trapping the few new hawks immigrating to the island (in the absence of the local residents who are under my care), and taking blood for genetic samples. We have temporarily run out of identification bands for female hawks, so decided to use finger nail polish to identify them until the bands arrive. In addition to my requesting cold water last week, now I am requesting a variety of fingernail polish colors...yes, my reputation is probably shot.

Miss you all!  Juli

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