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  • Writer's pictureKate Goodenough

It is April and spring is in the air!

A few great things have happened lately that I want to talk about. First, the Elegant Terns I have been tracking all winter made it back to Isla Rasa, Mexico and Southern California. The elegants wintered in northern Peru near Piura with the exception of one that decided to cross the border and visit northern Chile for a couple of weeks. They started their northward return the first week of April and are now starting to set up shop at their breeding grounds- the wonderful Isla Rasa! Last year was amazing getting the chance to spend a week in the Gulf of California surrounded by at least 80,000 breeding pairs of elegant terns. Enriqueta Velarde (Universidad de Veracruzana), head seabird researcher and chief of the island for the last 39 years was an amazing source of information on seabirds in the Gulf of California.

Enriqueta and I placing a transmitter on an Elegant Tern at Isla Rasa, Mexico.

Not to be outdone, Sid (one of our Gull-billed terns) returned to San Diego for the second northward migration. It is an amazing milestone- 23 months tracked so far and he shows no sign of slowing down. Last year he managed to fledge two chicks so let's wish him luck with the next brood! Gull-billed tern migration is the topic of my latest writing attempt. Stay tuned!

I have a new project to add to the growing list! I will be working with the City of Hempstead to track skimmers in New York this summer before I head to Peru. The plan is to use GPS technology to track skimmer use of the estuaries in New York. New York has only two large breeding colonies of skimmers left in the state. We hope to be able to identify important foraging locations to the skimmer and tern colonies.

Big plans are in place for the Amazon this year! I have five new assistants that will be working with me, and Dalia will be returning with me to the Amazon- she got hooked on it. They have no idea what is in store for them, but I am looking forward to watching them grow and meet the challenges of research in Manu. I hope they have as much fun as my crew from 2017.

Miss my 2017 field crew! Gah- the memories!

And finally on a personal note, this PhD candidate (and partner) just bought a house and will be spending a few weeks in May moving in and getting settled.

T the serious birder complete with mini-notebook.

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