This week I was able to help at the benthic invertebrates labs at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. It had been a while since I’d had the chance to participate in one of these labs but it’s around that time of the year when lots of schools are having field trips at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve.
The students we had this Wednesday were students from a high school in Watsonville. They were very knowledgeable and had a lot of questions about the material. They were very excited to look at the benthic invertebrates under the microscope!
This Saturday I also attended a meeting at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve about nest box monitoring! The meeting was led by Susie Fork, who is a research biologist at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. At this meeting I signed up to monitor some of the nest boxes at the reserve and I will be shadowing an experienced volunteer before I monitor on my own.
The Oak Titmouse and Chestnut-backed Chickadee are the typical inhabitants of these nest boxes. They are both non-migratory birds so they are local to the area. The birds typically nest in the same boxes every year.
The nest box monitoring consists of observing the birds for nesting behavior, counting the size of their clutch, and then monitoring until the nestlings fledge!
I think monitoring the nest boxes will be a good experience and it will be interesting to compare their success rate to that of the Black Oystercatchers which typically have a low reproductive rate.
I look forward to working on this project!