Nebraska

Hello! I just graduated with a degree in biology and moved from Salt Lake City to Overton, Nebraska where I am working for the USGS monitoring piping plovers and least terns. Texting my family about my time out here got tricky since I couldn’t send videos so I created this blog to keep my family and friends posted on what’s going on out here in the “good life” state.

Just a quick intro: The project I am doing is to study the nest success of least terns and piping plovers; both are endangered species. There are 7 sites that we visit to search for nests and re-sight the birds that have bands. To find nests we do what is called grid-searching (basically, we all walk in a line with even spacing between peoples and when we get to the end of the search area we turn around and walk back). It can take two-three hours to search a nesting site. While walking we take pictures of the birds we see and use a spotting scope to identify their band combinations. The band colors typically include: cobalt, light blue, green, red, orange, yellow, pink, they can also have a metal band. and no two plovers have the same combination (so I’m told). The flagging band you see tells you where the bird was banded: light blue means it was banded by USGS in Nebraska and a red flag means it was banded in Texas. That’s all I know about bands for now.

piping plover

I started work yesterday and worked a long 10 hour day, but it really wasn’t so bad because the work is so mellow and fun. We grid searched 3 sites and found about 6 new nests and I even found my first one!!! (can you see that tiny egg?!)

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Today was a lighter day; I worked for about 4 hours this morning. I scoped some terns and re-sighted their bands. We found a new nest at our Cottonwood site and I floated the eggs in a cup of river water to see how if they had been incubated for a given time.

For the rest of the day, I explored the site around our house and took some pictures using my sister’s camera. (i’m still trying to figure out how to use it). There is a lake right outside my window. And just to the east there are two ponds. I’m told there is a beaver inhabiting one of the ponds; I hope to see him soon.

Well, tomorrow is supposed to be stormy so I will load some pictures I took today. And here are a few photos from my first two days taken on the ol’ iPhone.

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