Showing posts with label Blood Samples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blood Samples. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Return to Madriz

This morning we returned to Paul do Madriz with Paulo, Miguel, Joanna, Paulo Ferreira and a colleague of Paulo - Joao. We operated three lines, two in the reeds and one in the scrub. One of the objectives of the session was to catch any ongoing migrant reed bed species for Miguel, as well as any breeding birds. We made double figures of Reed Warblers which allowed us to take more blood samples.

Extracting a Blackcap

Taking Blood Samples:

First, the area around the joint is swabbed with a very small amount of ethanol, this has a dual purpose of sterilising the area and separating the feathers for easier access.

Then a hypodermic needle is used to penetrate the vein over the joint:


The blood coagulates very quickly, so the blood to be sampled is removed by using a capiliary tube:


One the sample is collected, a cotton wool swap, light pressure and the rapid coagulation of the blood causes the hole to scab. The bird is then released.

Due to the coagulation of the blood, the sample needs to be tested quickly, so tests for haemoglobin levels, triglycerides and blood glucose are taken:


We were joined today by Joao, a colleague of Paulo at ICNB and he is currently working on a short film on the work of ICNB employees in the Mondego Valley. So, with HD video camerman in tow, most of our ringing session was filmed, although my poor Portuguese and mirror-shattering looks mean I am unlikely to make the final version. Miguel on the other hand.....


Both myself and Tineke have had an excellent stay here in Portugal, with great friends and great places. We love coming here and I am lucky to have the opportunities that I do, being involved with a number of different long and short-term projects.

And now back to Liverpool and a ringing session at Fulwood in the morning.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Paul do Taipal

Another bright and early start this morning - my alarm went off a 4:10 am! We headed to Taipal where Miguel, Luis and Joanna were already putting up Line 4&5 and so we put Lines 1&2 up (we'd been delayed unexpectedly!). The lines were up and open by 6am and so we headed for some breakfast!

The first net round saw the arrival of Sergio Marques, I haven't seen Sergio since the Ciencia Viva session at Fermentelos the summer before last. On the first net round, a few Reed Warblers and a couple of Sedge Warblers were extracted, as well as this Little Bittern.

2.c.y Male Little Bittern (Ixobrixus minutus)

Showing the contrast across the wing

Blood Samples were taken from all Sedge, Reed and Savi's Warblers as part of Miguels PhD project looking at migration in reed bed warblers. It was a good opportunity for me to brush up on my technique as it has been a few years since I took blood samples, and then it was only on Blackbirds and Waders, so I was able to work with something smaller. Miguel was taking three measurements from the blood samples on site - haemoglobin, triglycerides and glucose. He will take these measurements during three periods - initial migration North, the breeding season and the migration Southwards.

Miguel taking a small blood sample from a Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Again, as with the rest of the week, there were not many birds caught, but plans were made for a potential 1km net line to be used in July. Once again, as usual when I am in Portugal, I had a great time with a great bunch of people, even if they do know how to 'spoil' a photo of a Little Bittern!!!

The Taipal Five - coming to a reed bed near you!

In the morning we will ring in the reed bed at Paulo do Madriz with the aim of collecting more blood samples for Miguel. In the afternoon, now with sufficient fat scores, from the fantastic Portuguese food, I will begin my northwards migration and a planned ringing session on Friday morning.