Stupendous day

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A total of 75 birds searched today, with lice from two Ruffs Philomachus pugnax and a Song Thrush Turdus philomelos! The former seemed to have only Lunaceps holophaeus, while the lice from the latter were menoponids, probably Menacanthus sp. I think 75 is the highest number of birds I’ve ever searched in one day, but there may have been some day in Japan when I searched more birds.

I’ve booked lodgings and tickets to London and Berlin, and my host in Wroclaw has booked their guest room for me during my stay, so all I need to take care of is the train ticket from Berlin to Wroclaw. Tomas will set up things in Czech Republic once he gets back home at the end of the month, and I’ll still need to buy a ticket from Brno to Gothenburg/Jönköping…

Today, Heidi left Sundre, having searched 962 birds (I’m at 931), and by now I think she should be on the ferry, or at least waiting for it. She’ll spend the night in Oskarshamn, and then take a train down to Kalmar tomorrow morning, and arrive here at Ottenby sometime between 3-4 pm tomorrow, depending on which bus she gets on. Once she gets here, we can finally start doing more hippoboscid phoresy trials. I’ve done two when Tomas was here, but usually, I either have live lice or live flies, not both at the same time… And the few times when I have both, I don’t remember that I’m supposed to do these trials until I’ve already killed one of them… Hopefully, we’ll get something done once Heidi comes here, at least…

Preliminary plan for next spring:
Tomas to Umeå again (Umedeltat or Stora Fjäderägg)
Me (and some assistant with a driver’s license) to Sotenäs, Hammarö, Landsjön, Tåkern, and maybe some other place.
Lo somewhere?
Someone on Ottenby?

The main goal would be to compare birds during breeding season with birds during migration. I’ve searched 67 species since I came to Ottenby, and for 16 of those I’ve searched more than 20 birds, which means some sort of comparison could be made. Most of the old material from Sweden has also been migrating birds, which brings the number of searched bird species at Ottenby to approximately 135, with maybe 50 species with sample sizes over 20 (the only summary I have is mixed between Japan, Canada, Australia, the USA, Tanzania, and Sweden so I can’t be bothered to work out the exact numbers now…)

However, both when I was catching Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus in Padjelanta and when I was catching Reed and Marsh Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus et A. palustris in Torslandaviken, infestation rates were much higher, despite sample sizes being lower. It is sort of known that at least some lice have breeding cycles in synch with those of their hosts (I can’t remember the reference now…), and it would make sense, perhaps, for them to be in synch with migration cycles as well. Comparisons with breeding grounds would be very interesting. I think we could get some data on at least some breeding birds from Landsjön, Tåkern, and Sotenäs, and possibly elsewhere; Ottenby is not as good, as very few passerines breed on the cape, but then again it could be interesting to compare spring and autumn migration.

(I also don’t want to let go of the comparison-with-Mediterranean idea, but we’ll see…)

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