Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A tribute to human ingenuity... the Yangtze River Dolphin would never have thought of this.

*Irony Alert*

...but first... and hour's seawatching this morning. It was flat calm, starting at 05:40 and finishing with no small sense of relief at 06:45. It's getting worse. Two Great Skuas went south (or maybe the Great Skua, twice), and an Arctic Skua south just before I gave up. Actually it looked very small and I entertained the possibility it might be a Long-tailed, but it was too distant and too silhouetted. 3 Manx Shearwaters north (together), 66 Northern Gannets (47 north), 1 Common Scoter N, 3 Annoying Small Waders N (and that Common Sandpiper on the rocks), 1 Common Tern north, 4 Sandwich Terns and 3 Common (Mew) Gulls south. 1 Harbour Porpoise broke cover, and 2 Bottle-nosed Dolphins were breaching a couple of miles out. Nae Puffins.

And now... something completely different. This from

McClintock et al. 1978. Autumnal bird migration observed from ships in the Western North Atlantic Ocean. Bird Banding48: 262-277.

Imagine you are perfoming a scientific survey of birds migrating out at sea. You are on a boat... it's not your boat. You need specimens, but are forbidden to use a gun on board (and in America too!). But you do have an old bag of grapes you brought on board, and an elastic band. So you do something a bit naughty - clever! As long as you NEVER admit to it in print. Doh! This wins my award for bizarre research methods of the week.

It almost beats the thing about tying a video camera to the front of a canoe.

1 comment:

Camera Trap Codger said...

Collectors will stop short of nothing.I know a mammalogist who was clipping toes on rodents with his teeth. (He forgot his nail clippers on that trip.)

The California Academy of Sciences has a large sea bird collection that was assembled by a merchant marine in the 1950s. I don't if he shot them -- he probably did, as this was pre-CITES and ESA etc. His skins are absoultely beautiful. He apparently perfected a jiffy degreasing method using hot cornmeal.