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!
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.
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!!!
The other week I had the awesome opportunity to travel down to the San Luis Valley to shadow the two EFTA interns working at the Blanca Wetlands with the BLM. What a fun week! I arrived to Alamosa on a Tuesday evening and spent the night with Deisy at the BLM bunkhouse where herself along with two other BLM seasonals (one is involved with grassland management and the other fire management). I had not seen Deisy since this past February during the EFTA “Celebrate Shorebirds” training, so it was great to spend the evening catching up with her!
The next morning, Mianna met us at the BLM offices in La Jara so we could all drive together to the Blanca Wetlands (which is about 20 minutes away) to go duck banding! We met Mike and Rachel, who are private contractors with a wetlands ecological team, who showed us the ropes on their season of duck banding…they band the ducks on the Blanca Wetlands ponds every day over a span of six weeks. The purpose of the duck banding is to obtain data and knowledge on the Cinnamon Teal populations at the Blanca Wetlands. Throughout the morning we saw Cinnamon Teals, Green-Winged Teals, Ruddy Duck, Coots, and Mallards.We were to collect ducks from a total of seven ponds and at the end of the day we would band them all together. The first pond was quite the experience! We put on our thigh-high waders and stomped through the muck and mud of the pond to reach the duck traps that are placed in the middle of the pond…Desiy demonstrated the correct way to loose balance while trudging through the muck and she fell multiple throughout the day! Collecting the ducks from the trap was by far my favorite part of the trip. Once all the ducks were collecting (around 60 total) we brought them all to a central pond where students from Western State met us and helped us in banding the ducks. We spent the rest of the afternoon learning how to handle the ducks, venting the ducks (determining the sex), and placing bands on the ducks. After a long morning and afternoon of collecting and banding ducks, we shifted to another pond to see a mock macro-invertebrate survey demonstrated by Portland and Anjelica (2013 EFTA Blanca Wetlands interns). After spending a day in the field we ended the day by going around the town of Alamosa to place fliers around to advertise the family event Deisy and Mianna are hosting in a couple of weeks (Good Luck!).
After 44 long hours I now know that my job is such a privilege. I was able to participate in duck banding. I can truly say it was the greatest thing I have done all summer. We got to not only capture the ducks but we were also able to hold them and band them. The bands are for tracking the birds. I thought it would be simple, but venting the duck (determining the sex) is much harder than I thought. Once the sex of the duck is determined, next is to identify if it is a juvenile or an adult. Both of these are factored into what size of band is used for the duck. The band must be able to grow with the bird and keep it from being restricted. I not only learned about banding but also different methods of holding the squirmy little things. It was a lot of fun and excitement to say the least.
We also had the privilege of having Cara down for some shorebird fun. It was such a great week to have her because not only was she able to help with duck banding but we also did a mock macro-invertebrate survey, shorebird survey, festival planning, and an amphibian survey. All the fun stuff that we do in a summer she was able to get sight of in a weeks time.
My life is starting to pick up pace. I will be a full time student, full time EFTA employee, and a part-time student life employee, as well as a full time event planner until September 13th. I am well aware that I am beyond crazy but the workload gets more exciting with every day that passes.
Life is never complete unless I have a Crazy Deisy May story. Here it goes! I have decided she has no coordination. This week she managed to stretch her legs far enough apart that she lost her balance while trying to shuffle her way through a pond to a duck trap. So, she lost her balance and fell not only once but three times. Her tan pants became a dark shade of gray from the soaking of water and muck. It is definitely apparent that her and I have become beyond close because instead of helping her and risking falling in myself I laughed and waited for her to get up and struggle her way out of it. It may be mean of me, I know, but she was able to finally get enough gusto to get unstuck and dry off somewhat and got back to the job. Love that girl!