Crane Festival 2015: Tour at the Blanca Wetlands

This weekend was the 2015 Crane Festival! At the festival this year they provided a signup sheet to take a tour and go birding at the Blanca Wetlands with Lead Biologists Jill Lucero and Sue Swift-Miller. I was asked to join the tour and help Jill and Sue with presenting and educating the people on the tour. We were told that our tour filled up in a matter of minutes! I was thrilled to hear this. It shows that people are interested in the wetlands program and are excited to learn more about the Blanca Wetlands and our birds.
We took 18 people out to tour and bird the Blanca Wetlands. Members of our tour ranged in birding experience anywhere from very experienced birders to first time birders and everywhere in between. The ages of our tour members were just as diverse, we had some youth members that were about 14 years old and a married couple in their 80s! It was so much fun to spend time with people who are so interested in the work that you do. It was an amazing experience and we all had so much fun that our tour actually went a couple hours later than it was expected to because everyone was enjoying themselves so much. While out birding on Pond 46 one of our tour members made an outstanding bird identification. She Identified the second Long Tailed Duck to be Identified in the SLV!!
It was an amazing experience going out to the wetlands with birders of all levels. It was nice to see that everyone really enjoyed themselves and were making plans to return to Blanca Wetlands at a later date. This trip to the wetlands really got me excited to get more groups of people out there to enjoy all that it has to offer.

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And it comes to an end…

Mianna Maestas:
Time is going by far too fast!

I live such a chaotic life that it doesn’t feel as though the festival was already a week ago!

Considering that our office will be moving to Monte Vista, the last two weeks of my journey will be spent helping pack up and getting the show on the road.

This week I spent my time cleaning things up from the festival and getting things organized so that everything is easier to find for next year. I also started a binder for the interns next year that give directions on games we used for outreach, our protocol, and other odds and ends that they may need. I know I will be around next year to help them out.

I am sad that Deisy’s time is over and that I have no one to pick on, laugh at, or spend time with. I am happy to see her be successful in Denver, but there are days that I just miss her presence.

I am not sure I like that summer is over because school is in full swing and I hardly get to see or spend time with my buddies from work. It makes me sad, yet excited because I know that I have the privilege to spend another summer with them and have even more good times together!

Until next time…..

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Alamosa’s First Shorebird Festival

Mianna Maestas-
WE DID IT!!

I am proud to say that September 13, 2014 marks the first ever shorebird festival in Alamosa Colorado. All of the hard work that Deisy and I performed on top of all of our day to day tasks has finally paid off. It was great to see all the families out having a great time and participating in all of the events. It was such a treat to see all the smiling faces as the kids were able to participate in STEM programs such as solar car races, estimation games, and making bird feeders and paper owls. I think it helped a lot with the fact that they could win all kinds of cool prizes. We were able to give them all tattoos, stickers, bubbles, duck lip whistles, bird whistles, butterfly seed growers, and so much more!

I first want to say thank you to all the volunteers, participants, donors, and all that believed in us.  I also want to thank my bosses, Jill and Sue, for giving us the opportunity to get out there and do it no matter what the outcome may be, and I also want to thank all those that came to see what was going on, and I have so many ideas for next year. It would have not been possible without all the support.

We raised a total of 2,800 dollars! The entire festival paid for itself! Prizes included! Our families took home prices such as wolf creek ski resort passes, 3 month passes to Hooper pool, individual passes to Hooper pool, Gift certificates to Kristi Mountain sports and El Vallecito, and visa gift cards starting at 50 dollars. All and all the event was amazing and I am excited to see what it can become I am proud to say, WE DID IT!! We created our first festival! It took a lot of hard work but that hard work was worth every second just to see families coming together to enjoy time learning and competing.

The week with a good friend!

This week Cara, the intern from Boulder, came down to Alamosa to see what a day in the life of Deisy and Mianna was like. The good thing is she came down during one of our busier weeks. The three of us had the opportunity to go duck banding with an amazing bird biologist. We also had a class from Western College join us in duck banding. We were able learn how the ducks where captured, how to vent a duck, and how to band ducks. During the duck retrieval from the traps in the middle of a pond, I came to the conclusion that I am horrible and balancing myself when I am knee deep in water. I managed to fall four times in the same exact spot. Mianna and Cara simply laughed instead of helping me. What great friends they are, ha:). After a long struggle, Mike came over and helped me finally find my footing. Although walking through water was hard for me, what was even harder that day was venting the ducks. My first try at venting, I got pooped on! I had to walk around the rest of the day with a giant yellow greenish stain on my shirt. We finished off the day by teaching the Western College students how to do macro surveys at the Blanca wetlands. Overall it was an amazing day 🙂 I have such a blast learning new things here. I am going to be sad when I have to go back home to Denver.

The following day, Mianna and I took Cara on a shorebird survey. She was amazed by the large quantities of Wilson’s Phalaropes we had to count that day. There where over 2,000 in one single area! My head was spinning after counting so many birds. After our survey we went home to nap and prepare for our night amphibian survey. As the sun set, we prepared to head out to the field. I was hoping Cara would hear the large multitude of frogs we usually hear out at the wetlands. Unfortunately, the frog were very shy that night. Looks like the amphibian season is over!
I will definitely miss our night surveys, but everything good must come to an end.

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As time unfolds into good-byes

Well here we go! The hectic week I have been anticipating for months now is finally over! I finished my first week of college. YAY ME! I not only realize that I am a full time student, full time EFTA employee, but also an employee at the college student life center. I don’t really know when I truly get to sleep but somehow I manage to get everything done and still have time to plan for the festival and some time for family too.

This week our shorebird surveys ended =( Which is sad but, it means that winter is that much closer. I love winter! It also means that the festival is only two weeks away. YIKES!! I am not sure I am ready, but I am excited to see what the turn out will be. We have all of our ducks in a row and are now just waiting for the day. I also received good news that I will have a job with Jill and Sue again next year which is super exciting because I absolutely love working for them. However, they  have exposed me to sooooo many experiences and opportunities in the science field that I now ponder my choice in being a major for agricultural business.  I must say, out of everything I have encountered in this job the best part has been the experience and memories that have traveled the path with me. There is nothing in this world that can compare to the bonding moments that “Team Bug” has.

Help me count down the weeks until our festival is finally here! This past weekend marks 1 week. WOOOOOHOOOO!!!