Loooooong week (with an awesome ending!)

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April 3rd 2010
Published: April 4th 2010
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visiting a nestvisiting a nestvisiting a nest

I am measuring the nest and water depth
Week 5 (yikes! how did that happen? I feel like I just got here!) was extremely long. Not entirely sure why, but it just seemed to drag on and on. The majority of the week was spent building nest barriers, and fixing nest barriers and other such physical work, rather than biology stuff. By wednesday it was getting pretty tiring. Both Ingrid and I just wanted to work with the cranes again! The nice thing was that Lauren understood that and she apologized that we had been doing so much of the same thing for days and that we hadn't really done anything with the cranes directly. But she also stressed the importance of the nest barriers and I get that. If they can help to save the lives of more of these precious Sandhill crane chicks, it'll all be worth it. They really are imperative for the conservation process of this species.

On Thursday we got to take a break from nest barrier work and did some nest visits! Yay!! It was a really great day. =) Basically spent most of the day going to various nests. Some we were visiting for the first time (Lauren and Scott had
Floating EggFloating EggFloating Egg

in order to get an idea of how old the egg is and whether or not it is viable
found them from the helicopter) and some we were re-visiting to check on the status of the eggs. Learned how to set up the camera (they put motion sensored cameras at the nests so that they can see what is happening when we aren't there. Very cool... get to see when the cranes arrive and when they leave and if predation happens that will be caught on camera too) among other things. Seems like we may have a few more viable eggs which is great news! The more there are, the better chance that some of them will survive to fledgling age.

Friday morning I did more radio telemetry practice. Once again, not so successful, so once again I am getting a bit frustrated. But I only tried once so perhaps when I try again I will get it. I hope so. Anyway, when I came in from working on that I was delighted to find that I had a package on my desk! From a wonderful aunt of mine =) It totally brightened up my day. And from then on things were great. After lunch, we went out into the field with Scott to check on two nests
measuring an eggmeasuring an eggmeasuring an egg

we use calipers to get length and width measurements for every egg
where we thought the chicks would probably be hatching shortly if they hadn't already. At the first nest, one of the eggs was pipped (there was a hole in the shell that the chick had made, so it was just started to try to break out of the shell) so Scott left if there and hopefully the chick would fully hatch in the next 24 hours. That in itself was good news. But then we went to the second nest. By we I mean Scott (as far as going to the nest itself). The fewer people that approach the nest when there may be chicks, the better. So Ingrid and I waited at the nearby nest barrier we built last week. And shortly Scott came walking up, holding a pipped egg in one hand and a crane chick in the other!!!!! My first chick, and the first of this nesting season!!! It was ADORABLE. As was to be expected I suppose. I had my camera but I also had Lauren's work camera and that it the one I grabbed a took a picture with. It was very rushed so I dunno if it is the best shot, but hopefully there
Utah nestUtah nestUtah nest

one chick, and one pipped egg
will be many other photo ops. I think I'll even get to hold some of the chicks! So excited. I have a feeling things are going to start getting extra-awesome. =) Yay! It was the perfect end to the week.

On a separate train of though, I practiced for the pack test some more this week. On Monday I did the 3miles with 30lbs, and that time I did it in a little over 44 minutes. I was pleased. But then on Thursday I attempted to do it with the full 45lbs and it was a highly unpleasant experience. I think that it was made worse by the fact that it was quite hot and sunny out (probably near 80 degrees), which I believe contributed toward my nauseous feeling. Anyway, I survived it and managed to do the full 3 miles. Not under the time limit though. It took me about 45 and a half minutes, perhaps a bit more (definitely less than 46 minutes). That concerned me. However, today (Saturday) I did it again, this time with 35lbs. It was not so bad. I think after doing it with 45, comparatively 35 didn't seem too terrible. Also, it was overcast and in the lower 70s so it wasn't hot and I think that helped things quite a bit. I managed to finish in 44minutes exactly, which I was happy about.

What with doing the practice pack test, cleaning the trailer (including my room, which was in bad need of it), getting groceries, getting anti-itch cream (I am already covered in bites. Yikes. Need to start using bug spray. Lauren told me about a local person who sells a good natural spray that she said works well so I need to find out more info and get that), and going to the library, I felt that I had a fairly productive Saturday. =)

One more random bit of info. I finished the His Dark Materials trilogy friday night! I really really enjoyed all the books. Still not sure how I feel about the ending, but the more I think about it, the more the whole story (ending included) really is quite impressive. I am glad to have finally read them. Now on to the next fantasy series, as recommended by one of the people I worked with in Nevada! =)


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