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Fedex, Finances and Flooding

posted Apr 25, 2011, 7:08 PM by Clemens Kuepper   [ updated May 3, 2011, 10:20 AM ]
The last week has been full of frustrations starting with 'F'. First, a parcel with used field work tools and consumables has been stopped at the border. The tools include a used spotting scope and other gear that would be extremely useful for the people working in the field. When I filled in the forms I checked with the person who is running the mailing service in the Department and he was happy with it. But unfortunately not the custom officers and they have stopped the parcel. This meant a lot of more paper work especially for Lydia who is dealing with all of this and trying to rescue it. It turns out the critical point are some tubes with buffer to store blood samples for genetic analyses. They have sent us several forms to be filled with the details about the ingredients and specifications. Ironically, the buffer is as dangerous as soap water but because it was prepared in our lab and looks scientific it immediately raised suspicion. The Fedex agent dealing with this issue was also a little bit confused and not sure what more information is actually required. Until now several deadlines without progress have already passed and today we will finally learn whether the gear is sent back or will go through.

Secondly, we are running low on funds. Our funders have ensured us that they already released the first installment a few weeks ago but the money has not yet arrived and we don't know where it got stuck. As a small project we are very much dependent on these funds. This leads to more frustration and needs a lot of creativity to improvise. Fortunately, Medardo is the king of improvisation and keeps the essential work of the project running, but also he needs to eat...

Third, the elements are not meaning it well with the plovers and terns this year. After the promising signs last week we had thought that the breeding would be in full flight by now. Instead more tidal water and irrigation water has entered the site and we have lost the first Snowy Plover nest through flooding. Several other nests are threatened and more importantly, many plover and terns have had to postpone reproduction until the water goes away or they will have to try their luck elsewhere. Also, often nest predators are searching the area close to the water line and we have had the first nest being found and eaten by a Crested Caracara yesterday. To fix this problem and improve the water management breeding site will be expensive but it is more urgent than ever.

But there are also some good news. The team has captured and marked already the first Snowy Plover adults over the weekend. Soon we will introduce these birds to you and you will be able to follow their fates through our website. Furthermore, the Spanish translation of the chorlito-website is nearly ready and will be launched soon.

Progress is slow but steady.