Friday, April 22, 2011

New Tracking Van: test run

Toyota Tracking Van: toro! toro!

It's finally here! The new tracking van is amazing. ICF received a grant to replace the old-school full-sized astro van with this modern Toyota Sienna. It's rugged, it has enough room in the back to transport Cranes or lots of people, AND it's a beautiful ICF blue. How could it get any better?

The antenna is controlled by a state-of-the-art consul system that allows you to stay inside the vehicle to get an azimuth (or direction) on the bird once you know what direction the van is pointing. If you don't know that, then you have to get out of the vehicle and measure that with your compass.

The handle at the top lets you spin the antenna
I triangulated a few birds around the refuge and found that my error (the center circle of the 3 azimuths) was significantly reduced. I had an error of 1 meter on one of my triangulations!

Triangulations, error, and where we place the bird accordingly

Unfortunately, it was a miserable snowy day in mid-April. This is the first time I've experienced Thunder Snow; I didn't even know it existed. I thought storms stopped for the winter season. I guess you learn something new everyday.

a beautiful Easter Wonderland

New tracking van is so rugged, it can handle this!
In short, I love it.

I'd love it more if the weather played fair.


  1. aww that's a supercute photo of you :)

  2. thanks, Kate. I was secretly miserable behind the smile... I really don't like unseasonably cold weather.