Notes in America
Nyambayar Batbayar— 3 March 2000 — in Mongolia Project ShareMarch 3, 2000
The Peregrine Fund has a nice tradition support young biologists and conservationists from developing country. The president of The Peregrine Fund Dr. Bill Burnham, a Board member of The Peregrine Fund and a fashion designer Robert Comstock and a photographer Daniel O’Neil visited in Mongolia on November 1999. During this trip The Peregrine Fund representatives determined, his contribution for Mongolian nature conservationist’s activity, with supporting Robert Comstock Company. After it I had found a possibility to visit US and learn research and conservation experience from The Peregrine Fund.
This morning I waken up and come to windows look to street because previous day was strong wind and airplanes could not fly from UB. It was nice and sunny weather outside this morning. I hope today flight time would not postpone. 9:30 a.m I leave home after kiss my six months old daughter. I am leaving daughter in total three times, first time I was being leave her for one month when she has been two week old, to organize Mongolian Saiga Antelope Conservation Stakeholder meeting in Western Mongolia and to study Mongolian Saiga. Next time I leave in January for two week when she was four months old, and this is my 3rd time leaving her for three months and was not easy. Airplane leave UB in 11:40 and came in Korea at 16:20 p.m in local time. In my watch it is 15:20 at UB now. Airplane flew from Seoul to Los Angeles at 19:30. I don’t sleep. One night passing, meeting new another day on airplane, for me it was second 8th March. Our plane landed in Los Angeles at 11:12. After cleared by customs I go to get luggage. Unfortunately, my luggage is not there. My suitcase would be left in Seoul. And airport officer preparing gave me documentation about my luggage is miss in Seoul. He say I should show it in Boise airport and if my luggage found in Seoul they will send it by any first plane to Boise. I said Thanks and Bye. Our plane flew from LA at 19:35p.m and landed at 1:15 a.m in Boise, when getting nice quiet rain. There are Dr.Bill Burnham came to get me himself, it excited me very much. We registered in airport dispatcher about my missing luggage and move to his home. He has a very nice Guesthouse and he has been prepared it for my first days in US. So, my about 24 hours travel ending, I went to bed at 2:30.
I could not sleep until 4:30a.m in last night. It was time discord. In the morning 8:00 a.m. The Peregrine Fund International Programs director and my supervisor Dr. Rick Watson came to me. After acquaintance we had briefly talking about The Peregrine Fund, my previous work in World Wide Fund, university and family while drinking a cup coffee, after it we visited to The Peregrine Fund (TPF), World Center for Birds of Prey (WCBP). This morning I saw running chukars (Alectoris chukar) everywhere in Bill and The Peregrine Fund’s fence. This bird is common in my country in mountains of Western Mongolian. Rick told me that this bird is introduced here many years ago from Europe for falconry’s falcon prey.
Rick introduced me to every people who work in TPF and WCBP. It was nice to meet with them. Also we visited to library, interpretive center and raptor captive breeding facilities. This day I saw in WCBP some raptors, California Condor, Harpy Eagle, Bald Eagle, Bateleur Eagle first time in my life, and a Golden Eagle. Unfortunately, end of this day I have been not remembering name of many people, which have acquainted today. However, I have got it using way, which I met again with those people and asking their name.
Afternoon I met with Kent Carnie who study on American falconry history. We had brief talking about American and Mongolian falconry and their history. He has nice falcon hoods gathered from many countries, books on falconry from wide nations and showed me some of collection. His hood collections attracted my interest very much.
After coming back to home I spent a few hours bird watching along Bill’s fence line. There are more than 15 bird species and all species was for me new species not including House Sparrow, Starling and Mallard.
In evening Pat Burnham invited me for dinner. And there was invited Mark Fuller with his wife, and Rick with his wife. Pat was prepared remarkable nice fried fish, nice salad and etc. for dinner. . . . Most subject of our conversation was about Mongolia . . .
I did not sleep until midnight again. In morning, birdwatcher and TPF's volunteer Eileen and her husband Steve picked up me from my house at 8 a.m and we went southeastern part of Boise to see birds and American nature. While driving, this nice family introduced me natural feature and bird life of Idaho and United States (US). I see people, building, snow capped Owyhee Mountain, Boise Mountain and landscape through by car window. In my observation the Idaho’s vegetation and landscape are seems similar with Central Mongolian mountain forest steppe. But bird fauna is seems more than ninety percent different. After half hour we reached to Bruneau Sand Dunes National Park (BSDNP) that located in hollow between mountains. This place was very interesting; it seems all sands from nearest territories concentrated only in this hollow. There are many people came here to spent weekend. Also we visited to park’s interpreters center with nice natural history museum. After BSDNP went to eastern part of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (SRBPNCA) and Bruneau hydropower dam. After it we continued our trip along the Snake River and in Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. A Bald Eagle was set on the tree with Great Blue Heron in distance about 6-8 m and several hundreds Mallards seems migrating to north. Today I saw many North American birds which I have not seen before; Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron, Meadowlark, American Kestrel, Canadian Goose, Northern Flicker, Belted Kingfisher, Clark’s Grebe, etc. It was a nice trip for me. I am very appreciating for Eileen and Steve.
Today I moved to Russell Thorstrom. He is a biologist of The Peregrine Fund and works for TPF's Madagascar Fish Eagle project. He provide me how to get and back to some places such as The Peregrine Fund and food store.
This morning Rick and I visited to Raptor Research Center (RRC) at Boise State University (BSU). There we will meet raptor researchers in Snake River Birds of Prey Area. The first person was Tom Zarriello, he is a GIS expert and that moment he was processing data of Madagascar Fish Eagle study using satellite imaging. After few minutes Mark Fuller came and he introduced me with raptor researchers and biologists of RRC, Karen Steenhof, Mike Kochert, Kirk Bates, Linda Schueck, volunteer Britt Peterson, office assistant Marsha Tracy and librarian Jean Cowing.
11:15, Britt and I went together to check and clean boxes of American Kestrel. Britt is one of the wildlife volunteers in Boise. She helps research work and understanding on birds of prey to people in TPF and RRC. The American Kestrel project began from 1986 and many students, researchers and wildlife volunteers made about 150 American Kestrel boxes in Boise. Now every year many pair of American Kestrel successfully nest on these boxes. When we cleaning one box, the female came and shown aggressive display for us. We finished our work quickly and moved away. Next box was clean, not used last year and we don’t need to clean. When we got the next box, the starling had been laid their eggs. Starling is non-native bird of America. There are introduced from Europe last century. At present they are successfully adopted and distributed everywhere and rise with high numbers. Now there are big problem for many birds such as American robin, Kestrel and etc. In another nest was an abandoned egg. Totally 24 boxes have been checked this day. Normally to check and to clean all boxes needs three-four days.
Today rain is coming. In morning Karen came together with Greg Campbell, tall, young man with nice mustache, to RRC. He is a volunteer from other city and will work with RRC researchers in Swan Falls Dam field station of SRPFA. His task is help to find birds and observe, collect data on Prairie Falcon. Karen and Mark show slides and introduced for Greg and me about Prairie Falcon project. Prairie Falcon project began in 1999.
Afternoon, Greg and I follow Kirk Bates to Snake River Canyon. Rain still coming. After seen canyon we using VHF receiver for scan instrumented Prairie Falcon with VHF radio transmitter. However there was still raining and cool after about 30 minutes we caught signal from the Prairie Falcon. After work Greg left there in his trailer at Swan Falls Dam. He will work and live there.
This day was first field day for Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). In the morning Mike and I leave Boise at 9:30, while getting rain and cool. Mike is long time studying Golden Eagle after his Master degree on Golden Eagle, has a lot of field experience.
The SRBPNCA is one of very few areas with nearly 30 years of data that are being used to assess status and trend of Golden Eagle in North America and this Golden Eagle project have began from 1971.
During trip we saw grazing 10 pronghorn antelope near road in field. We reached in Crater Rings, which occupying a pair of Golden Eagle for nesting territory. There are two craters and Golden Eagles many years using their cliffs as regularly nesting territory. We left car and taking backpack, scopes and walking to get top of craters. We saw incubating female of Golden Eagle by Kowa scope with magnification 60x. Also we saw a flying Ferruginous hawk, that biggest hawk in North America. After this place we go to Grand View, which is locating in eastern part of SRBPNCA. A Bald Eagle has been set on the electric pole. Becoming warm and sunny. In 13:15 we reached Sandy cliff in near of Snake River. A pair of Golden Eagle is regularly using this territory since 1969. We saw here pair of Golden Eagle doing mating display in the sky. After it we came next territory Black butte of Snake River. Mike has numbered each Golden Eagle territory and nest. It is provide monitor every pair and who occupying which nest. Here a female eagle has incubating eggs on the nest. Today we have recorded incubating four pair of Golden Eagle. When we go back we saw three raptors, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk setting on the electric pole near traffic road.
Today Russ and I go to Airport and I received my luggage. I am very glad for it. Last days Rick, my sister Ankhaa and my wife Bayarmaa are have been phoning and writing e-mails every day to Seoul to find my luggage. I would like to appreciate to all those persons and people of The Peregrine Fund and Raptor Research Center who worrying about me and my luggage.
Every week RRC staff do office meeting. Today I met with James McKinley who specialist for bird trapping in this meeting. We discussed about next week work.
RRC plan to attach platform transmitter terminals (PTTs) to 10 adult Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) from the SRBPNCA each year for four year. The information gathered will provide critical information for managing the species in the NCA and throughout its range. Last year in May, researchers trapped and instrumented each bird with 10 female Prairie Falcons on their nesting territories in the SRBPNCA. This year those birds started to return to the NCA in early March.
Karen distributed for every staff member the Prairie Falcon protocol of 2000 field season. In 2000 field season we have several goals. Our first task is find and confirm where will stay female Prairie Falcons in this year, which trapped and instrumented with PTTs in last year. After it we will catch them, will replace some of them PTT transmitter with VHF transmitter.
In mid day Mark and I went to BSU and attended to a graduate student’s presentation on Bald Eagle and Osprey. After then Mark introduced me BSU, his student campus and we get to BSU’s and International students administrations, library, and Biological department. About 15,000 students, from America and other countries, are studying at BSU. After BSU I have been in library of RRC. There are about 380 books, more than 35,000 reprints, scientific papers and journals leads on raptor study. I found several reprints, after using powerful searching software of RIS, which I could not found in Mongolia. This library became one of my most favorite places in Boise.
Today Mike, Karen, Greg and I got to Swan Falls Dam in Snake River and done survey using a boat. Researchers use boat when difficult to see birds from ground and easy from water. This day was nice sunny and warm.
We are motoring upstream to Sinker Butte, Fever Basin and looking for Prairie Falcon and Golden Eagle. We have got signal from instrumented female Prairie Falcon at Fever Basin. After few minutes that Prairie Falcon flew over us to another side of riverbank. Mike looking for a Golden Eagle nest but seems there are not Golden Eagle. But after two hour observation Mike detected an incubating Golden Eagle when she slightly moved her head. Yes, sometimes need more keep under control and accurate from us. When we going back we saw a flying Prairie Falcon. Greg saw his VHF transmitter using his powerful Kowa scope. But she did not show us her band. Every instrumented bird must be with black ring on right leg and colorful ring on left leg.
Pass a week after last RRC staff meeting and we are meeting again at RRC today. We discussed about our working success and next week plan. We agreed James, Kirk and I would have trap and instrument with VHF a male Prairie Falcon at Pump station in Snake River on Saturday.
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