April 22nd – Some Excitement

Cayuga volunteer fire department was quickly on the scene.                     -P. Thoem

Cayuga volunteer fire department was quickly on the scene. -P. Thoem


I remember looking down from 38,000 feet into the growing murk of night. We had left Amsterdam that morning and were headed for Nairobi 8 hours away. The crossing of the Sahara was inspiring, awesome, but now we were south of it in savannah country, south of Khartoum. And in the dark I could see long ribbons of fire, many of them, snaking their way across the landscape. These fires, which must have been huge given that they were so impressive even from this height, had been deliberately set to burn off the old vegetation, enriching the soil, getting it ready for new crops….if the rains complied. It would have been interesting to see the panic and activity of birds and animals ahead of that flame.
The fire in the background was the source of the spark.              -P. Thoem

The fire in the background was the source of the spark. -P. Thoem


We had our own touch of panic and activity late this morning: a spark from a fire set to burn a brushpile found its way into the old dry grass of the meadow beside the parking lot. I looked out the lab window to see flames roaring ahead of a SE wind which was pushing them toward the parking lot…thank goodness. We raced out and, armed with shovels, rakes and a couple of fire extinguishers, were able to have it pretty well out before the fire department got there to hose everything down and make sure it didn’t start up again. All in all it wasn’t a big deal but it was exciting.
Fire fighters putting the final touches on their work.     -P. Thoem

Fire fighters putting the final touches on their work. -P. Thoem


And we needed the excitement because it was a pretty slow day: only 26 “new” birds and almost twice as many (47) retraps. As I’ve said many times on this blog: beautiful weather makes for lousy banding at Ruthven.

Banded 26:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Blue Jay
1 Hermit Thrush
1 American Robin
3 Chipping Sparrows
5 Field Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco’
10 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 47:
1 Tree Swallow
1 Blue Jay
3 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
5 American Tree Sparrows
8 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
5 Song Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
8 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 53 spp.

Rick

1 thought on “April 22nd – Some Excitement

Leave a Reply