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David Luneau, Rick Knight  

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Field work discussion  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
23 Jan 2002

    Geography
  • United States
    Louisiana
    St. Tammany County
    Locality
  • Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 30.5475   -89.793889
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
  • SONY TCD-D8
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • DPA 4060 omni mics. Lectrosonics 195 Series Wideband UHF Diversity Wireless System.

Radex Woodpeckers January 23

DAT 06 (Weds Wireless 2 of 3) Split track DPA omnis through Lectrosonics wireless systems.
Two digit numbers are PNOs; five digit numbers are Absolute Time.

In Bogue Chitto NWR, Lock 2 area. Chris Joyce (CJ) and Flawn Williams walking with searchers David Luneau (DL) on left track, Rick Knight (RK) on right track. This tape picks up where we have stopped at nine AM to census trees and listen for five minutes to ID audible birds.

01 00000 ambi of standing still quiet forest as searchers listen.
00215 RK: cavity hole in the top of that cypress. Possibly just a knothole. DL: No, that's dug. RK: Many of these cypresses have a knothole, good starting point. D L: looks like someone started on it, but it looks old.
LOADED: Ax RK cavity hole 00130-00330

00340 DL: at the nine o'clock stop, Rick's recording tree habitat, and I'm writing down the birds we hear here in the past five minutes. Yeah. American crow, ruby crowned kinglet, American goldfinch, Carolina wren, wood duck, Carolina chickadee, American robin, Eastern Phoebe, blue headed vireo, sapsucker. You mean you didn't hear all those?

CJ: Yeah, I heard em I just didn't know what to call em. (bird pecking audible in distance.)

DL: Somebody's drumming. Pileated woodpecker, but he's past my five minutes so I'm not going to write it down. RK: It was a flicker, wasn't it? Calling and drumming. DL: Well I'll listen again, maybe he'll speak up. And there's a red bellied too that we didn't get.
LOADED: AxDL bird list 9am 00330-00500

00500 (more pecking.) RK: I heard a flicker call note from that area. (more calls.) DL: Flicker? RK: it's the first one I've heard give that call here. DL: It's real similar to the pileated¿up intensity and back down, the flicker¿.RK: the flicker is more staccato, it's louder, more even toned. DL: You're right, that's the first one I've heard do that sound since we've been here. RK: Yeah they generally use that more in the breeding season. DL: Well, it's so warm today maybe they think it's the breeding season!
00620 RK: It probably is time for them to start establishing territories maybe.

DL: You think that's flicker drumming, also?? That'd be a territorial thing too probably. (singing)
00630 DL: Carolina wren, singing and doing the other. (Imitates.) That one, yeah, Carolina wren. Carolina wren's a tough one because, first of all, it's a little bitty bird, it sounds about four times as big as it is. And secondly it's got three or four¿maybe more¿different sounds. Very commonly it does all of them.

00718 CJ: Nine tenths of birding is listening. What's with the binoculars?

DL: They don't always vocalize. Or sometimes even if they do vocalize you just want to get a good look at them. (bird calls.) Or certainly as you're learning sounds, you have a field guide that doesn't have sounds, you have a field guide that has pictures, so you have to associate the picture to the bird and then the bird to the sound.

00750 CJ: Well the field guide does offer certain phonetic versions of the sound, but¿.
DL: That only takes you so far.
RK: That's only one person's interpretation. To another person it may mean nothing, or may say, it's just right.
CJ: I wouldn't know what the false note of a clarinet would be¿

DL: I've never played the clarinet¿.Arthur Allen. The false note of a clarinet¿or you can even do it with a clarinet reed, it's great if you're a clarinetist, but¿
RK: For someone like me who can't carry a tune in a bucket, it doesn't mean a lot.
00830 DL: a toy tin trumpet? I can't say if I've heard a toy tin trumpet. I can visualize that¿
RK: I can visualize that, or a toy tin horn, what that would sound like. (zipper) That thing up there's the only GOOD thing I've seen in here, from our perspective. But it's pileated size at best.
DL: Maybe flicker even. Yeah. If you believe Tanner's data about an oval shape, that's VERY round, almost larger width than length.
00925 RK: it sould be an old knothole that they just expanded on.
DL: it could be, it's hard to say where the limbs were. It doesn't look like there was ever a limb there. You look at the other limbs? How the tree kind of pushes out to the limb? And that's just flush, everything there is flat.
(yawns.)

02 01000 silence, zipper of pack, DL: Ready? I'll go out branch a way northeast, but we're still traveling north.
RK: Okay. (the two walk in separate directions.)
01100 DL and CJ discuss National Geographic.

01145 DL: Oops I got water here. A lot of water to my right. (small sounds of radio keying off in RK channel.)
LOADED: AxDL Oops got water 01130-01200

01200 DL: We are not the first white men to set foot in here. Riunite Bianca. (points to wine bottle.)
Looks like a wood duck box somebody put on the side of a tree there. To provide nesting habitat for wood ducks. Wood ducks nest in large cavities, and to have large cavities you have to have a lot of knotholes which implies large trees that are dying, or you've got to have a lot of large woodpeckers. The hunters would like to have a large population of wood ducks, and of course the birders would like to have a large population of large woodpeckers. But I think at this time we've probably got a larger population of wood ducks than we do of large woodpeckers.
01310 walk on
01330 RK: We can get around this end of it. I think¿..
walk on
01453 RK steps through water, gentle splash. DL still coming to water.
01530 DL: Shall we persist? RK: Might as well since we're here. Walk on.
01700 DL: Did you get that one? Blue headed vireo.
LOADED: Ax DL nest cavity 01700-02010
RK: Is that birch do you think? DL: Yeah. RK: I first thought sycamore, but it didn't look quite right.
01720 DL: A nest cavity up in that tree. Too small for an ivorybill, may be a pileated but probably a flicker size. And it's an older one, if you look at it closely you can see that after it was chiseled out the tree did a little bit of healing around it. There's a little rim around it, it's not freshly dug.
01755 CJ: So it could be occupied, or it could be abandoned?
DL: Yeah, either way. It doesn't mean it's still being used or not being used just because it's old. But it's too small for an ivorybill, the ivorybills' are noticeably oval.
01815 DL: We found a very intriguing hole day before yesterday, Peter and Alan found it and Rick and I went back out to check it out yesterday. It's being dug in a very much alive cypress tree. It's VERY large, large enough to get your attention to think, this is possible workings of an ivorybill. Very fresh too, fresh chips, about four inch long chips, big chunks¿
03 01843 not chiseled out by a very small woodpecker Lets put it that way. So we're gonna keep an eye on it, probably check it periodically. And put a video camera out there. Since I've got my audio equipment with me, it has an input for video too, haven't ever used it that way, at least not in the woods. I've got a little baseball size webcam that goes right into video in, so we can set it up all day to record, bring it back at night and fast forward through ten hours of tape in about 20 minutes. Runs off a lawn and garden size battery. If I add the video camera to it I may have to use a second battery, or slightly larger battery, cause I'm cutting it pretty close with just the audio. (Crows in background, walk on.)
03 02015 DL calls a bird, it responds. It's a white eyed vireo. There's a blue headed and a white-eyed vireo right here in this immediate area. (Imitates.)
02110 a few spider webs on the trail¿I'll knock them out of your way.

RK: there's another good cavity hole in this tree standing to my right out in the water (radio)
DL: yeah, there's a couple of large holes, perfectly round¿I see two on this side, were there some on other side? Can you hear me at all? Bad batteries in radio. Battery's down to one dot. RK: Mine's on two dots. I was having the same trouble with Martjan the other day¿wonder if he switched radios? Checks scan function.
02500 RK: let me step over here and try again. DL: Did you see holes on the other side? RK: Just on this side.

02545 DL: I wonder if this little slough's gonna cut us off. Snow geese. Talk of vireos they saw. DL interprets their call as "check out the booty Jack." RK: "Pick up the beer check."
02705 DL: well let's see what we can do. Take a wavepoint.

02730 RK: That a tupelo? DL I would guess yeah. Silent ambi.

02845 DL: well we made it almost four tenths of a mile from the car. I think we're not in the right habitat. We hear a pine warbler singing. Takes sip out of water bottle, hear GPS beeps. Somebody's tied a lot of markers out here. Zipper.
DL: Ready? Ready? Looks like they might be coming together but there might be some way through. RK: This may just be backwater off the canal. We may be forced to the ridge soon. Right now?

03110 start walking on together.
03230 bird calls audibly. DL: such a pretty bird.

03335 DL: you hear that? Was that a frog? RK: I've heard several jump in.

03435 DL: we may have to go up here. (on ridge.) Climbing exertions. RK: you guys got four wheel drive?

03635 DL: pretty good little climb. Highest elevation gain so far. Highest point in Louisiana. (joke.) Well we have a trail anyway. That's something¿.

03750 audible bird, some wind rumble.

03810 DL: VERY large cavity in that dead snag there, but it's so dead that almost anything could have chiseled that. You see there? The whitest of those trees in there? Goes up and forks? Certainly the size we want. Big and oval. CJ: what'd you see? DL: very large oval cavity, old dead tree. RK: old, really rotten. Don't think any woodpecker would use that. DL: Afraid the house would collapse on him. Emergency roost hole only, if that.

03950 Walk on along the ridge. (Manmade ridge left over from canal dredging.) Good ambi, some birds audible twittering in distance along with walking sounds.

04230 DL: I'm just guessing that was this lake over here, that was some backwater over here¿we've come to another large body of water. If we could get out east we know we'd be OK but we know there's a slough that's gonna cut us off. Is there any flow in that water or is this all backwater? RK: I don't see any here. DL: Nah, doesn't look like it.

04310 walk on

04340 DL: I say we keep going north, I don't think west would get us anything but back to the canal. And in through a bunch of pines. FX nice bird call right after David talks.
04440 CJ: pretty out here. DL: Yeah, and the habitat out to our south is not too bad. We're standing in a bunch of pine trees, the immediate habitat is not real great. But we're looking pretty good out to the south. We're kind of trapped by the water here. Walk on.

04620 DL: Well, need to make a decision here. The path is blocked, we either go down and skirt the water's edge in this marginal habitat or we go searching for better habitat at another lock. RK: I would be inclined to go with the latter suggestion. Cause this is poor quality habitat in my opinion. DL: Yeah, it doesn't look bad out there to the south, but we can't GET out there to the south. So, about face? RK: Forward march!

04740 CJ: when you talk about good and bad habitat, what're you looking for? RK: LOTS of big trees, hopefully. There are VERY few big trees in here. Using a 20 inch diameter as the minimum for big. CJ: How about species? I like to see oaks and sweet gum, but if its tupelo cypress that might be OK too. CJ: And it doesn't matter whether it's upland or bottom? RK: No. (laughs.) There's not much difference between uplands and bottom around here as far as topographic relief goes. It's a matter of inches, almost.

04845 DL: what kind of tree is this, Rick? Thorns on the bark. Not a climbing tree obviously. RK: Not unless you got something REALLY nasty chasing you! Back home I would call that a devil's walking stick. CJ: In Alaska they've got something like that called devil's club.

05025 RK: did you record a GPS mark? DL: Yeah, furthest north. RK: Let's do our readings here. Good spot to get a drink of water too. Zipper. DL lists birds he's hearing: Pine warbler. Eastern phoebe. GPS. Peter peter peter, tufted titmouse. Red bellied woodpecker. The ever-present Carolina wren. (FX. Distant display pecks of woodpecker.) Stretch of silent ambi. Barred owl very faint in distance. Flicker. Hunter. FX: Pack sound. Up close flicker there. Ruby crowned kinglet. Robin. (FX: audible woodpecker call.) Red bellied woodpecker again. Reckon that's the red bellied knocking. Guess so. (slight wind rumble evident.) Well, that's about five minutes. Nine species, typically at 8-9-10am we've gotten six to twelve species. Sometimes by 11 or 12 we're down to a couple, they tend to quit vocalizing. They want to take a siesta, like we want to. Just hang out.

05700 DL: All right, back we go! We can stay on the ridge. Turn my radio off, conserve what batteries are left. I put rechargeables in pack, hope they're still in there. (Walk on.) When we get back to the car, might be good time for a lunch break. Least that's what my stomach says. RK: Mine too.

05855 Audible pine warbler FX. DL: Pine warbler is such a happy sound. Sounds so lively and happy¿

10200 DL: The nerve of them to put a tree right in the middle of our trail. We came up a little steeper bank. Walk on.

10315 DL: round hole. Smaller round hole. Walk on.

10650 steps in water, DL: cool your feet, stand there for moment, cool your feet off. RK: That's what I'm doing. DL: That's our sand dune there, just get your machete out. RK: Here's a trail. Walk on.

11030 RK: guess these are armadillo holes, aren't there? RK Stick your hand in there and find out! Typically they just ignore you.

11155: DL: I saw that yesterday. Former nest, wasn't much left. RK: UmHumm.

11400 FX: bird calls, distant traffic. RK: Pileated landed on a tree back there. DL: Sure it wasn't an ivorybill? RK: Pretty sure. (try to relocate the trail.)

11500 FX: robins call. DL: Rockin robins. FX: walking with many distant bird calls.

11635 RK: Thar she blows. DL: might need to go for a swim. (back to canal.)

11715 CJ: Tired yet? DL: Tired of walking through lousy habitat. CJ: Give me a post mortem on this Lock 2 area. DL: This will be our last trip over here. We searched what we could search here, and it's definitely not worth going back to. There are plenty other areas we haven't been to that have a lot better habitat. CJ: And that's your assessment? RK: Yeah, this is rather poor quality habitat for ivorybills. CJ: Well, nothing ventured nothing gained. DL: Right, we had to come check it out. RK: Yeah One of the few places accessible to us by land. DL: Yeah, Bogue Chitto is largely water accessible only. Meaning we'll have to take a float trip from the north end and camp several nights along the way and hike out from camp. Do loops, come on back to camp, move on down, do the same thing several days in a row to really get some sort of coverage in the area.

11825 wind noise becoming apparent in mikes as we get out into clearing around lock 2

11900 DL talks about his new boots being better. This and wind noise covers some metallic noise crossing lock, but some crossing sound usable with filtering.

11950 on other side, talk of lack of lockmaster, see bluebirds. DL: Add another bird to the species list.
White throated sparrows there on the ground. (wind noise) Those are chippies, you're right. RK: if we press em they'll fly to the fence. Get a better lock at them sitting on the fence. Head back to cars.

12331 end tape

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