This week did some bits and pieces of several different things. Firstly, I wrote up a paragraph with some questions for Oli. This is mostly geared toward the eider in Skalanes, and what he would like to focus on with this species. I decided also to look further into the natural history of this birds and found that Steller’s Eider is a vagrant to Iceland that is declining at an unknown rate, however populations are decreasing and the species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list.
I looked at some other species on the IUCN list, including the arctic fox, because Oli wanted us to look into home range/den surveying for them. IUCN lists them as a stable population of least concern which I find interesting. I am not quite sure how they are measuring some of these species, but I am looking into that. This does not mean that they are not an important species, worth looking at. Their habitats are limited and their diets are fairly specific which can be concerning in species decline and extinction. They live in very cold conditions in the northern steppe. With global warming they are bound to get pushed further and further north to the edges of Europe and North America. Oli mentioned surveying scat with a drone but I do not see this as a very effective solution because, first of all, detecting the scat would be extremely difficult and the wind might cause issues with a small-scale drone.
On another note, we still need to do some more brainstorming into what the most effective way to survey the birds at Skalanes will be. Thermal imagining is a great idea but it may either require the rewiring of the comera we have in order to hook it up to an arduino or we would need to look at other thermal technology, which could be expensive.
Finally, Gail, Kristin, Charlie, Nic, Deeksha and I had a great meeting last week about the potential for a wilderness program associated with the field science work. Notes on this meeting are in the drive. Charlie submitted the grant request to the GLI committee and we are meeting again this week to further discuss the potential for this. Our next step will really be a budget and looking into what needs to happen in the next nine months, in order to plan a successful program.