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Hello all,
Well, my first week is over. I have the weekend off. Thank goodness! Today we worked over 10 hours, and I'm really tired. I wish so much that I could kick back with my friends back home and watch Harry Potter at my house. But for now I'm in Iowa, watching America's Funniest Home Videos with my three housemates and coworkers. :)

Today started out similar to yesterday. The sky looked very menacing, and sure enough, as Erica and I approached our field where we were to conduct our first bird transect, she saw lightning flash across the sky in the south. Erica called Jen, and she said to let the sky lighten (it was only a bit after 5, and the sun had not yet risen) and we'd access the weather conditions then. Well, I saw more lightning in the south. It was spectacular, lighting up the whole southern sky. It would have been neat if we weren't supposed to be out in it, in a flat field. We called Jen again, and she said not to go out if we weren't comfortable. So I sat in the Explorer for about ten minutes waiting to see if I saw more lightning. Meanwhile, Erica set out to do the transect. After I saw no more lightning for about ten minutes, I hesitantly joined her. The mosquitoes were awful. It was so warm and humid outside, but there was a lovely breeze. Unfortunately, it did not keep the mosquitoes at bay, even though it wasn't even 6 in the morning!

We finished that field and started the next. The sky had cleared, but then it started to sprinkle on us. In doing the transect, it's 100 meters long, with flags every 20 meters marked B1 F1, B1 F2, etc. (bird one [transect one], flag one; bird two, flag two). You walk slowly along the transect and listen and look for birds. If you hear a bird singing, you can either go and flush it so that you can see where it came from, or you can just try to spot it. You can only write down birds that you can see, because once you find a bird, you must get its degrees and its distance from where you are with the Rangefinder binoculars (which are Leupolds, by the way--made in Beaverton, Oregon!). Each transect should take at least 6-8 minutes. This makes for slow going! Anyhow, it started to sprinkle on us. Then we heard a loud blaring horn. I stared at Erica, horrified. "Was that the tornado siren?!" I exclaimed. Erica stared back at me, then, as the horn blew again, then stopped, she said,
"No. Just a truck horn. Gosh that scared me so bad!!!!"
She said a few minutes later that her heart was going so fast. If it had been a tornado, we had no basement to escape into. Later on during the transect, we were close to a house, and I suggested that, in case the tornado siren were to go off, we could bang on the farmhouse door and ask to be let inside. Luckily, it thundered but did not do anything worse than that; we couldn't even see any lightning.

Next we met up with the others, took a bird quiz, then did inverts and nest checks. I got lost in a field trying to find Veg 3. I practically was in the wetland. I also flushed a female pheasant, who scared me half to death and she fluttered up a few feet in front of me.

Anyhow, then we came back home, drove the cars through the carwash on the way, and then we were finally home, at about 2:30. But we still were not done, even though we had worked 9.5 hours! Then we had to sort the inverts from the day before, and go through the vegetation and pick out any and all leftover inverts with needle-nosed tweezers. This took over an hour. Finally we were done, and we all got to shower. After having DEET and sunscreen, and dirt, all over me, it felt so good to be clean!

Oh, I forgot to say: I got to check the Sedge Wren nest today! It is a large ball of grass, about the size of a large grapefruit, with a hole in its side. It is about half a foot off the ground, and when I peered inside, I could see three tiny bright-yellow mouths inside, plus a lumpy form that looked like a fourth chick. So cute. I took some photos, while the adult wren chided me from the reeds about 10 feet away.

I talked to my mom tonight about being a field biologist. I am still gathering up my data. Even if I get through this whole summer and still don't really like it that much, I can still be a field biologist. We will just have to see. It's great that I can explore different options and get paid for it!! It was also nice to talk to my mom, lying in the backyard on the grass, with Chimney Swifts chittering overhead and a Northern Cardinal singing from the tree nearby.

Well, I'm off now. Horray for the weekend!

ps: I have really missed my music. In the Jeep, the radio is set to classic rock, which is all rather depressing and sounds alike. I'm listening to some classic Elms now. :)


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Jun. 22nd, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
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