I left Davis in the dark this morning, about 0445, so that I could meet up with Yvette and the field crews at 0630 in Alameda. Alameda is beginning to feel like home and for those of you who have never been there, it is a really great town. As one person told me – “It is like a Midwestern town on the beach”. Beautiful houses, nice, friendly people, and a happening downtown.
Today was the day (a rainy one at that) to try out the Coda net gun. This is a device that looks like a big gun with four barrels. Each barrel has a weight in it attached to a net, and the weights are blown out of the barrels by a charge. We place this net in an area where we think that birds that we want to catch will congregate. For the American Coots that we are trying to catch one great gathering spot as been a freshwater seep along the Bay Shore shoreline where the coots come to drink.
(Yvette checking to see if coots are in front of the net gun)
We set up the net launcher and despite a few glitches we managed to catch 10 coots in our first shot.
By and large, these coots were in good shape. We waited a bit and then we did another shot and caught three more coots. Overall, of the 13 coots that we captured, only three of them were oiled and those birds just had spots of oil on their legs. We cleaned the oil off the legs and then released all of the birds that we captured. Tomorrow we will target the heavily oiled birds that are still out there.
(Yvette and Monty removing a coot from the net)