Published: April 20th 2010April 16th 2010
nest from helicopter
the nest is a little left of center... it is difficult to see in the pic
This was without a doubt the best week I've had so far here. And that is taking into account the fact that so far I have pretty much loved everything.
Week started out normally, doing the typical stuff. Tuesday afternoon we built another nest barrier. We started and finished it in a matter of hours. Meant that we worked late that day (til about 5:30) but it was worth it. Wednesday after work I went to dinner at the church I have been going to. Met some new people, all very nice. Twas good. After dinner (and a bible class), I had my first choir rehearsal!! I LOVED it. I had forgotten how much I love singing as part of a group. And I think there may be some sort of unwritten rule that people in church choirs have to be a bit quirky (in an awesome way). Everyone was super welcoming, and I really like my fellow altos. =) It was a good night.
Thursday began possibly the coolest 24hours of my life. hehe. The morning was average, but then in the afternoon I got to go up in the helicopter. Finally! It. was. AWESOME. :-D I had
so much fun. It was so incredibly cool getting to see the refuge from an aerial perspective. Everything looks completely different! As if that wasn't cool enough, we also found 3 new nests while up there! A very successful flight, to be sure. =)
Friday started early, which was rough. We did another marsh bird survey, which meant we needed to be at work at 6am so we had to leave at 5:30. Ugh. But, the second we got out on the water, it was all forgotten. I really do love being on a boat. I now cannot decide which I like better... flying in a helicopter or riding in a boat through the bayou. hehe. Do I have an awesome job or what?! =) This time, all 4 of us did the bird survey and it was a lot of fun. The first half we heard NOTHING. so lots of talking happened. But then about halfway through the birds apparently woke up (lazy birds! sleepin' til 8am..). At one point we heard 7 different birds and the whole time we heard a total of 15 birds. Yay! So, the day was already awesome. But it got better. Once
this guy is pretty small compared to some i've seen since
on land, we gathered everything we needed and headed out to go to some of the new nests that we have yet to visit. One was in a place on the refuge where Scott has been wanting a nest to be for the past 20 years. It is the first time that a crane has ever nested in this particular area! Very exciting moment. =) After visiting 2 new nests, we revisited one of the nests where we thought the eggs were nearing their hatch date. As we walked up, both cranes flew off, a sure sign of chicks being present! When we got to the nest, there was one bad egg, but then also shell pieces, indicating that the other one hatched! After a brief search we found the chick! And.... I GOT TO HOLD IT! My first time holding a sandhill crane chick. I think my heart melted a little bit. So adorable. We weighed him (or her) and got pictures (I will try to put pictures up sometime soon, I promise. It is just a matter of getting them off the work computers and onto my laptop). So that was our day. Awesome, and all before lunch! The rest of the day was good too. I got to go out to 2 new nests, one of which was in this huge swamp area. To get to it, we had to basically bush-wack. It was kinda great. Reminded me of times in Australia hacking our way through the rainforest. =) Course, the rainforest was much cooler. But still. It was entertaining.
So, in the 24hrs between thursday afternoon and friday afternoon, I flew in a helicopter, drove the truck with a trailer (with boat) attached (I forgot to mention that before... I had to pick up the boat from the shop and bring it to the refuge thursday after work. it was interesting), went out on a boat in the bayou and got to see the sun rise and hear a bunch of rails, and held my first chick!
I am officially in love with this job. =)