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Contest Entry: Simon Valdez

December 02, 2013
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We're sharing the contest entries from our Show Us Your Research grad student photo competition.

These photos, taken in Jalisco, Mexico, are from Simon Valdez, Department of Biological Sciences. He writes:

Photo 1:  We Meet Again

This is one of my study birds, a Yellow warbler: they weigh 9 grams, but every year they travel over 5000 km. They spend the summer in Canada and USA, and winter in warmer climates, this one in Mexico. My research deals with winter habitat use of migratory birds in Mexico. We first met when I banded him in 2012 (you can see orange and black color bands in his upper leg), and we met again in 2013 when I took this photograph, after both of us had gone from Mexico to Canada and back again.

Photo 2: Morning Commute

This was taken early in the morning at one of my field sites in a coastal lagoon in Jalisco, Mexico. I was walking to one of my study plots when these Black-necked stilts arrived to feed. Wetlands in the tropics are host to hundreds of different wintering migratory birds, from tiny songbirds, like the Yellow warbler (my study species) to larger shorebirds, like these Black-necked stilts.

Photo 3: Crashing Waves

These pelicans were basking on the beach near one of my study sites in Jalisco Mexico. The beach where this picture was taken is currently deserted, but that might change in the near future due to intensive development plans for resorts and golf courses. My research deals with the consequences of winter habitat change in Yellow warblers, mostly due to agricultural development. But habitat degradation comes from many sources and affects very different species.

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