It has been a busy week! I haven’t been updating the blog as often as I hoped.
Monday I had to go through some training for the job, I learned how to drive defensively and had to take a few quizzes about how not to let viruses get on the computer. Then I got trained on how to do data entry for the job. There is a lot that goes in to studying plovers and terns! We have to keep a record for each nest we find and update it twice a week about how the nest is doing: are the eggs missing, are there new eggs, is an adult present?, etc. Also we have to keep logs about each visit to each site and the birds we re-sight. We enter all that data twice for USGS, then we enter it again for an agency out here in Nebraska that conducts plover studies too. They are called Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP). So I learned all the ins and outs of data entry on monday. Sometimes the data entry after a field day can take 2+ hours!! I expect it to take longer once the terns start nesting!
Tuesday I went to a mine safety course and learned how to be safe around a conveyer belt…mostly stuff that doesn’t apply to us, but we had to get certified because one of our sites is on an active gravel mine. After that we sat through a first aid course. That was a 10 hour day!
Wednesday we were back in the field! And since I was all trained up I was able to be the record keeper for most of the sites and also I re-sighted a few birds! I feel like I’m pretty good at it! However it’s always super windy out here and that makes using the scope/tripod setup frustrating; the wind jiggles the scope and makes looking at the tiny legs difficult.
The next two days were about the same, more re-sighting birds and more updating nest records. Long 10 hour days. We did see a few terns on Friday so hopefully this coming week we will have some new nests to count! These are least terns:
Yesterday was Saturday. I went to a yoga class in Kearney and later went into Grand Island to see what it’s like. Grand Island is not so grand. I won’t be making a second trip. They had a mall there, but it had a JC Penny, a Dillards, and a Yonkers (whatever that is). Oh and a Victoria’s Secret. My coworker wanted to go to Grand Island just for that…I should have known things would be bleak when the only thing to do in town was go to the VS. I ended up driving back to Kearney, disappointed in the gas I wasted. But once I got back to Kearney I met up with my boss and a lady from PRRIP to watch a snake eat a live mouse! The PRRIP lady ( her name is Staci) had lots of animals at her house! She had 4 cats, 2 bunnies, 2 huge mastiffs, 2 snakes, and 2 turtles. She is a certified wildlife rehabilitator human so she frequently takes in hurt or lost animals. The other night she had a coyote pup! I’m sad I wasn’t able to make it out and see it.
That’s me holding a snake that just ate a mouse. That is Dante the bobtail cat.
These dogs are named Pookie and Chewie. They were very friendly!
Today I woke up and went for a run. When I got back there were firefighters outside the house about to start a controlled burn so I decided to pack a little picnic and head out to avoid sitting in smoke all day. I ended up at Johnson Lake state park. I hung out by the lake and read my book for a few hours before heading back to the house. It was a nice little park…not amazing. I think Utah spoiled me as far as state and national parks go, so it takes more than a man made lake to wow me. But it was a peaceful afternoon at any rate.
I guess that’s a quick rundown of my week. I will try to be better this coming week about updating.
Oh and the sunsets out here are quite nice