Archive for September, 2009

The Quest for Quest Data Continues

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

We have good news and not so good news…

The good news is that the account and payment issues have all been resolved. Quest’s transmitter data is now being paid directly through an account set up by the Genesee Valley Audubon Society instead of the DEC.

The not so good news is that getting the emails restored is going to take a couple more weeks. This is a little complicated, so bear with me… It seems that during the transition from the DEC’s account to GVAS, the daily emails containing the tracking data were discontinued. Even though GVAS is paying the bills for Quest’s data directly, her transmitter still falls under the New York DEC’s satellite tracking program. For whatever reason the folks who process the satellite data will only accept a request to resume the emails from the program manager.

So what’s the bad news, you say? Well, it turns out that the program manager is out of the country, and he won’t be back until the middle of the month. We’ve contacted the DEC to see if they can get in touch with him but they have not been able to do so. That means, unfortunately, that we’re stuck until his return.

Its frustrating news to be sure. Now’s the time when we can expect Quest to be on the move. We’ve all grown accustomed to being able to see where she’s going, and this six-week blackout is tough to take. Be that as it may, we appreciate everyone continuing to be patient, and we hope you’ll accept our apology for all of the delays and confusion.

UPDATE: As seems to be the norm in this situation, we’re getting information in bits and bites. After more communication with the ARGOS folks, it appears that the DEC program manager didn’t explicitly request the emails be stopped (as we previously reported), but as a consequence of making the account changes, that’s how the instructions were interpreted. So it appears the DEC may not have been at the heart of the problem (though we’ve had 5 weeks without email, which presumably should have caught someone’s attention in Albany). However, nothing in our reporting on this issue should be construed as assigning blame or pointing fingers. All the evidence is that this was an honest misunderstanding, nothing more. For now we are in the unwanted position of waiting for a solution.

We’re not idle though. June Summers continues to be in contact with the DEC and the satellite data folks. We have provided them with the original emails from the DEC to GVAS, which spell out the actual intent of the account switching. The satellite data people have also let us know they’re reviewing the information, and we’re cautiously hopeful that we might be able to get data flowing sooner rather than later. So stay tuned, and Specto Subitus!

-Jess

Wondering Where the Quest Updates Are?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

We can’t blame you really. It’s been about 2 weeks since we’ve posted one.

The problem isn’t with the data, it’s with the money. You may recall that the money for the Quest tracking project came to the Genesee Valley Audubon Society (GVAS) in the form of a grant made by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Meanwhile, the DEC set up an account with the company which provides the satellite tracking data, in their name. So, in a typical example of governmental bureaucracy, GVAS had to send a check back to the DEC for each payment, then the DEC cut a check to the people who handle the satellite data.

To their credit, the DEC decided to get out of the ‘middleman’ game a couple of months ago. They worked with ARGOS to set up an account directly with GVAS for Quest’s satellite data. We thought everything was OK, but at the end of August we stopped receiving the daily data feeds. We’ve gone a couple of days without data in the past, and it was due to problems with the satellite company’s data processing systems, so at first we thought that’s what was going on this time. After several data-less days, we got in contact with them and found out that they hadn’t received our latest payment. We made immediate payment arrangements but they only take checks, so we won’t receive any data until our check works its way through the snail mail and the bank. We’ll keep an eye on things and get more updates out as soon as we can. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone being patient while we work through this little monetary snafu.

New Stuff Coming to Falconcam Stores

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

rfcLicPlateHolder

Despite the wonderful summer we’ve had, the Rochester Falconcam’s Merchandizing team has not been idle. Who’s the Merchandising team? They’re some of the same talented folks who brought you the popular Bricks for Chicks and M&Ms for M&K promotions as well as the custom designs available at The Scrape, RFCasuals and Zazzle stores.

Look for a potpourri of new items like the handsome RFalconcam License Plate Frame (available now at The Scrape) to land in our stores over the next few weeks. Also on offer will be some unique calendars and greeting/holiday cards, as well as other high-quality merchandise you’ve come to expect from the Rochester Falconcam and our partners at Birdorable

Shopping is easy! Just click the Stores link on the Rochester Falconcam pages. You can also see a rotation of featured items on the left side of the website’s pages. When one of them catches your eye, just click on it for more details or to place an order. Remember that all proceeds from our merchandising sales support the ongoing operations here at the Falconcam.

With Mariah apparently relocating to Kodak Park and Archer and Beauty settling in at Times Square, we have the real possibility of multiple nests in Rochester for the first time. What that will mean for us is anyone’s guess but your continued support will help to ensure that we can bring the activity at every Rochester nest site to you.

Millie Finds a New Home, Family in Michigan

Friday, September 4th, 2009


View Millie Is Here! in a larger map

Courtesy of AllisonL over at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Falconcam forum and our own Falconcam member Donna comes some welcome news regarding Millie, daughter of Freedom and Purity from 2005. Allison writes:

Millie, a daughter of Freedom and his first mate Purity, [hatched] in 2005, is now at the Monroe Power Plant in Michigan. Freedom, of course, is a son of Mariah and Kaver from their first year together, 2002.

Millie’s new mate is Leopold, who is now 14 years old and has been at this nest since 1997. It was reported last year that he had flown into a wire and had been euthanized, but this turned out not to be the case. I believe that the falcon involved was Leopold’s long-time mate, Raynie.

Millie’s former mate is/was Swifty, a son of Freedom and Roosevelt at the Fort Wayne nest. Leopold is a brother of Erie, the former mate of Dorothy at the Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning nest.

Leopold and Millie had two [eyases] this year; Heidi and Tyson. One of them appears to be missing. From an update:

We had 20 chicks born this year in SE Michigan (that we are aware of anyway), 17 of which lived long enough to attempt first flight and were successful (we lost all three chicks at 12 days of age from our Whittier Apartments site in Detroit – cause unknown), as of today (7-19-2009) we can account for 12 of these young Peregrines still alive (no carcasses have been found, however we are not able to find 2 at Blue Water Bridge, 1 at UofD Mercy, 1 at Monroe Powerplant, and our only Flint produced falcon ‘Maize’).

Allison received her information from a post on the Macomb County Peregrine Falcon Page. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any further word about Ihteram, who had nested at St. Joseph’s Cathederal near Detroit in 2008, but was unable to nest there again this year due to changes at the site that closed off access to the bell tower where she and her mate had nested.

You may recall our previous news about Millie’s appearance in Ohio, but this past year we learned that Millie had left the Ohio site and her whereabouts were unknown. It’s wonderful to know that she’s found a new home and is carrying forward the rich heritage of the Rochester falcons. Millie is the older sister of Archer, and it appears that her new mate Leopold is the brother of Beauty’s father, Erie. So that makes Leopold Beauty’s uncle!

Wow, the family tree is getting really complicated!