It looks like rain today. Luckily, our first day in the Zhangye was productive so if we are not able to catch birds today, we’ll still on be on schedule. Today, we’ll do the same as yesterday morning – walk through the smaller villages tucked inside the city and go door to door to see if there are swallows. We easily surveyed over 100 nests yesterday and identified about 20 breeding pairs of swallows in one morning. Then, after lunch, we captured about 7 birds in 2 hours before it started to rain. And yes! We recaptured a bird with one of our tags as well as several that Liz and Liu Yu had banded here in 2015! All in all, an excellent start to our time in Zhangye!
Around lunch time, wonderful smells emanated from simple kitchens. As we went from door to door, Liu Yu took up small conversation with the residents and let the kids try out his binoculars. We were told that this village will be completely torn down within the next few months. This will undoubtedly change the social structure of these people’s lives: they spend a lot of time together in the streets where adults can be seen playing cards, sitting together and talking while the kids run around the maze of streets in the background. And it will certainly change things for the swallows. This place is perfect for them – many structures to build their nests, water and food nearby. They don’t like high rise buildings. I wish I could come back again next year to find out where they have relocated but if you think what we are doing now is crazy – trying to relocate birds in the same place we have tagged them previously, trying to find them as they move to new places would truly be mission impossible.
We are off to start our day, just as yours is ending!